May 18, 2022

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US gives Ukraine an additional $800 million in military aid, and adds heavy weapons

US gives Ukraine an additional $800 million in military aid, and adds heavy weapons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine to expand systems to include heavy artillery ahead of an expected broader Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine. Read more

Biden said in a statement after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr that the package, which brings total military aid since the invasion of Russian forces in February to more than $2.5 billion, includes artillery systems, artillery shells, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats. Zelensky.

Biden said he also approved the transfer of additional helicopters, saying the equipment provided to Ukraine was “critical” in its response to the invasion.

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“We cannot rest now,” Biden said in a written statement. “As I assured President Zelensky, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their struggle for freedom.”

The new package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters that were destined for Afghanistan before the collapse of the US-backed government last year. It also includes 18 155mm howitzers, along with 40,000 artillery rounds, anti-artillery radars, 200 armored personnel carriers, and an additional 300 Switchblade drones.

This was the first time that Ukraine was supplied with howitzers by the United States.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some systems, such as howitzers and radars, would require additional training for Ukrainian forces unaccustomed to using US military equipment.

“We are aware of the hour and we know time is not our friend,” Kirby said when asked about the speed of delivery.

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Bigger and stronger weapons

US President Joe Biden discusses the US response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and warns CEOs about potential cyber attacks from Russia at the CEO Business Roundtable’s quarterly meeting in Washington, DC, US, on March 21, 2022. REUTERS/Lea Mehlis

The new aid — first reported by Reuters on Tuesday — will be funded using the Presidential Disbursement Authority, or PDA, where the president can authorize the transfer of articles and services from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency. Read more

John Spencer, a retired U.S. Army major and urban warfare expert at the Madison Policy Forum, said he was excited to see the United States send in artillery and artillery shells.

“You need these bigger, more powerful weapons…to match what Russia is offering to try and take over eastern Ukraine,” Spencer said.

As news of recent security assistance emerged, executives from top US arms makers met with Pentagon officials to discuss industrial challenges in the event the conflict in Ukraine continues.

These included executives from BAE Systems Plc (BAES.L)General Dynamics Corp (GD.N)Lockheed Martin, Inc (LMT.N)Huntington Ingalls Industries (welcome to)L3Harris Technologies (LHX.N)Boeing Corporation (ban)Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N) The Northrop Grumman Company (NOC.N).

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Eric Bahon said the discussion “mainly focused on accelerating production and building more capabilities across the industrial base for weapons and equipment that can be rapidly exported, deployed with minimal training and proven effective on the battlefield.”

Zelensky was appealing to the leaders of the United States and Europe for arms and heavy equipment. Thousands were killed and millions displaced in the seven-week invasion.

Russia was unable to achieve most of its military objectives, as the Ukrainians put up a fiercer than expected resistance.

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Russia describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation” to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and arrest what it considers dangerous nationalists, but Ukraine and the West say Russia has started an unjustified war of aggression.

Russia said on Wednesday it had seized the port of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine and that more than 1,000 Ukrainian marines had surrendered.

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(Reporting by Patricia Zingerli, Idris Ali and Mike Stone) Additional reporting by Humira Pamuk, Doina Chiako and Timis Turmo. Editing by Mary Milliken, Will Dunham, Grant McCall, and Cynthia Osterman

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