Biden announces another $1 billion in military aid for Ukraine, with rockets and artillery shells

Biden announces another $1 billion in military aid for Ukraine, with rockets and artillery shells

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced he was sending another one billion dollars in military support to Ukraine, after its leaders pleaded for more ammunition to help fight off the Russian invasion.  The latest package will include anti-ship missile systems, artillery rockets, and rounds for howitzers, people familiar with the packages said.  It means the U.S. has now delivered more than $5.5 billion of military support since Russia invaded more than 110 days ago.  It comes after the war entered a new phase, with Ukrainian officers warning they were struggling to match Russia shell for shell in a long-range war of rocket strikes and artillery battles.  'I informed President Zelensky that the United States is providing another $1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, including additional artillery and coastal defense weapons, as well as ammunition for the artillery and advanced rocket systems that the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas,' he said in a statement. The Pentagon said the last packages include two Harpoon coastal defense systems, 18 howitzers, 36,000 rounds for them, artillery rockets, secure radios and money for training.  The latest assistance is drawn from two packages - $350 million of aid from Pentagon stocks plus $650 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds.  According to the Pentagon, the aid includes:  18 155mm Howitzers;  36,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition; 18 Tactical Vehicles to tow 155mm Howitzers;  Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems;  Four Tactical Vehicles to recover equipment;   Two Harpoon coastal defense systems;  Thousands of secure radios;  Thousands of Night Vision devices, thermal sights, and other optics;  Funding for training, maintenance, sustainment, transportation, and administrative costs.  The latest weapons packages for Ukraine includes 18 howitzers, 36,000 rounds of ammunition for them, two Harpoon coastal defense systems, artillery rockets, secure radios, thousands of night vision devices and funding for training, the Pentagon said.  Some will be drawn from Pentagon stockpiles, while another package will be paid for by the congressional Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.  The White House said the two presidents spoke for 41 minutes on Wednesday morning.  'We also remain committed to supporting the Ukrainian people whose lives have been ripped apart by this war,' said Biden 'Today, I am also announcing an additional $225 million in humanitarian assistance to help people inside Ukraine, including by supplying safe drinking water, critical medical supplies and health care, food, shelter, and cash for families to purchase essential items.' Western officials say the war has reached a critical stage that could determine the eventual outcome Russia refocused its efforts in eastern Ukraine after its invading forces were pushed back from the capital Kyiv. Moscow has amassed a significant artillery advantage around key cities in eastern Ukraine.  Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin convened a meeting of 45 nations at NATO headquarters in Brussels.  'Ukraine is facing a pivotal moment on the battlefield,' he told them.  'We're seeing what President Zelensky warned us about: after failing to take Kyiv and after reassessing its combat aims, Russia has shifted its focus to the Donbas.' In particular, Ukrainian forces are under immense pressure in the Luhansk region of Donbas, leading a senior American official to warn that Russia could take control within weeks. This week Emmanuel Macron told Ukraine to negotiate with Vladimir Putin in order to bring about an end to the war.  Austin said other nations had promised more weapons. The United Kingdom and Germany have offered long-range artillery rockets and ammunition, while Slovakia is promising helicopters, and a number of countries are ready to supply more artillery, he said. 'We can't afford to let up, and we can't lose steam,' said Austin Putin's icy grip on Arctic 'battleground of the future': West urged to 'wake up' to Russian threat as Moscow builds new military bases, races to extract natural resources worth...

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