Biden announces new tranche of military aid to Ukraine

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a new tranche of military aid to Ukraine that includes additional artillery pieces and shells and anti-ship missiles totaling $1 billion.

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In a press release, the US President said he had announced this new aid of around one billion dollars to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a telephone interview.

“I have reiterated the United States’ commitment to assist Ukraine in defending its democracy, protecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of unjustified Russian aggression,” Biden said.

This new auxiliary tranche includes “additional artillery and coastal defense guns, as well as ammunition for artillery pieces and advanced rocket launchers, which Ukrainians need for their defensive operations in Donbass,” he said.

The Pentagon said in a statement that this aid included, in particular, 18 howitzers with their transport vehicles and 36,000 grenades, as well as two Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers, intended for Ukraine’s Black Sea coastal defenses.

The United States no longer uses the Boeing-made Harpoon, but it is sold to many countries. For this new tranche of aid, the US government bought directly from Boeing two launch vehicles that the manufacturer had in stock, and other countries will supply the rockets, a senior Defense Department official told reporters.

Washington will also send precision-guided missiles for the four Himar systems promised to Ukraine in early June and should arrive on the battlefield by the end of the month, according to this senior official, who asked for anonymity and declined to give the number of missiles after Given to Kyiv.

But the United States won’t send Himar launchers just yet, because it wants to make sure they’re used successfully on the battlefield first.

“It is this information, combined with ongoing consultations with the Ukrainians, that will allow decisions to be made about additional systems,” said another senior Pentagon official.

The Himars system carries six missiles simultaneously with a range of over 70 kilometers, twice that of US howitzers already deployed on the battlefield, and could give the Ukrainians a distance and accuracy advantage in the battle for Donbass.

The new aid package also includes thousands of secure radios, as well as night vision and heat-sensing goggles, according to the Pentagon statement.

This new tranche brings the total amount of military aid the United States has provided to Ukraine to $5.6 billion since the conflict began on February 24.

Mr. Biden also announced a new $225 million tranche of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, specifically in the form of drinking water, medical supplies or food.

“The courage, tenacity and determination of the Ukrainian people remain an inspiration for the whole world,” said the US President.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Wednesday he “thanked” the Americans for the new tranche of military aid that his American counterpart Joe Biden had announced to him by telephone early in the evening.

“The United States has announced a new reinforcement of our defense, a new aid tranche of one billion dollars,” Zelenskyy confirmed in his video message that evening. “I would like to express my gratitude for this support, which is particularly important for our defense in Donbass,” the region in eastern Ukraine, the epicenter of the current Russian attacks.

US aid includes additional artillery and shells and anti-ship missiles totaling $1 billion.

“I am also grateful to the United States for mobilizing the help of all partners,” added the President of Ukraine.

He said he also discussed “the tactical situation on the ground and how we can accelerate our victory” with his American counterpart.

Mr Zelensky said he also spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tweeted that he would support Ukraine “until ultimate victory”.

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