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[WATCH] U.S. Announces $820M in New Aid to Ukraine Will Include Missiles

[WATCH] U.S. Announces $820M in New Aid to Ukraine Will Include Missiles

President Joe Biden announced on Friday that the United States will provide Ukraine with $820 million in new military aid, including new surface-to-air missile systems and counter-artillery radars, to respond to Russia’s heavy reliance on long-range strikes in the war.

Russia has launched dozens of missiles across Ukraine in recent days, pinning down Ukrainian forces with continuous fire for sometimes hours at a time. Ukraine’s leaders have publicly called on Western allies to quickly send more ammunition and advanced systems that will help them narrow the gap in equipment and manpower.

[President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]
The U.S. has committed more than a total of $8.8 billion in weapons and military training to Ukraine, whose leaders have sought more help from Western allies to repel larger and heavily equipped Russian forces. About $7 billion of that aid has been announced since Russia’s February invasion. As part of the new package, the U.S. will purchase two systems known as NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system that is used to protect the airspace around the White House and Capitol in Washington. A senior defense official told reporters the NASAMS are intended to help Ukraine transition away from using Soviet-era air defense systems that besides being well known to the Russians have to be repaired with spare parts that are hard to procure.

“We are going to support Ukraine as long as it takes,” President Biden said this week at a press conference during the NATO summit in Madrid. He argued that Russia had already suffered a blow to its international standing and major damage to its economy from Western sanctions imposed over the invasion.

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The Pentagon will also provide the Ukrainians with up to 150,000 rounds of 155-millimeter artillery ammunition. Given the high usage of artillery on both sides, it’s unclear how long those new rounds would last. The official declined to say how many estimated rounds Ukraine and Russia are firing daily.

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