(CNS News) – On Dec. 21, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced an additional $1.85 billion in “additional security assistance” for Ukraine, “as part of Zelensky’s visit to the White House.”
These funds come in the form of President Joe Biden’s 28th drawdown, which is valid at $1 billion, coupled with $850 million through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). This raises the total value of assistance provided to $21.2 billion since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
According to a Dec. 21 DoD press release, Biden’s $1 billion 28th drawdown will include the following:
— One Patriot air defense battery and munitions;
— Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
— 500 Precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds;
— 10 120mm mortar systems and 10,000 120mm mortar rounds;
— 10 82mm mortar systems;
— 10 60mm mortar systems;
— 37 Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles;
— 120 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs);
— Six armored utility trucks;
— High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs);
— Precision aerial munitions;
— Over 2,700 grenade launchers and small arms;
— Claymore anti-personnel munitions;
— Demolition munitions and equipment;
— Night vision devices and optics;
— Tactical secure communications systems;
— Body armor and other field equipment.
— 45,000 152mm artillery rounds;
— 20,000 122mm artillery rounds;
— 50,000 122mm GRAD rockets;
— 100,000 rounds of 125mm tank ammunition;
— SATCOM terminals and services;
— Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.
“At President Biden’s direction,” reads the press release, “the United States has prioritized the provision of air defense systems to help Ukraine defend its people from Russian aggression.”
This package includes the Patriot Air Defense system. According to DoD, the Patriot system is “one of the world’s most advanced air defense capabilities,” which will “add to a layered defense to counter the full range of threats currently menacing Ukraine’s cities and civilians.”
“The Patriot system will augment previous air defense capabilities the United States has provided Ukraine, which includes NASAMs, missiles for HAWK air defense systems, Stingers, and equipment to counter the Russian use of unmanned aerial vehicles,” the DoD added.
The emphasis on the supply of aerial defense capabilities comes in the midst of Russia’s ramped up air attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine, and its plan to use the winter against the Ukrainians. The DoD and the State Department both see these aerial defense systems as a major need of the Ukrainian military.
“We will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, so that Kyiv can continue to defend itself and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table when the time comes,” said the State Department in a simultaneous Dec. 21 press release.
The State Department added that “Russia alone could end this war today,” and that “until it does so, we stand United with Ukraine.”
It takes about 90 troops to operate the Patriot missile system and Ukrainian troops will have to be trained by U.S. personnel to use the weapon. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said that providing the Patriot system to Ukraine means that “the U.S. has effectively become a party” to the war.
She further said “ that growing amounts of U.S. military assistance, including the transfer of such sophisticated weapons, ‘would mean even broader involvement of military personnel in the hostilities and could entail possible consequences,’” reported the Associated Press.
The United States has now committed $21.2 billion since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
As Zelensky visits the White House today, the Senate is expected to vote on a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill sometime this week. Included in the bill is an additional $45 billion for Ukraine.
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