Drones, missiles, artillery, a US$775 million arms package for Ukraine
The US Department of Defense on Friday announced a new $775 million defense equipment and ammunition package for Ukraine, including various types of missiles, artillery and demining systems.
The package includes more precision-guided missiles for the Himars systems that enabled Ukrainian forces to strike Russian command centers and ammunition dumps far behind the front lines, and more anti-armour weapons, including missiles TOW and Javelin systems.
It also includes Scan Eagle surveillance drones, high-velocity anti-radiation missiles (HARMs) that focus on ground-based radar systems, and 105mm howitzers along with 36,000 artillery shells for them.
“We want to make sure Ukraine has a steady flow of ammunition to meet its needs, and that’s what we’re doing with this package,” a senior US defense official told reporters.
The official said Ukrainian forces had made good use of the 19 weapons packages the United States had provided since invading Moscow on Feb. 24, helping them stem the advance of Russian forces.
“You see a complete and utter lack of progress by the Russians on the battlefield,” the official said, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity.
“You see the Russians are always paying a high price with Ukrainian attacks, especially using this Himars system,” the official said.
“They bear these costs and are unable to move forward.”
The official acknowledged that the Ukrainians themselves were unable to recapture significant territory along the front lines in the east and south of the country.
But the new weapons package will help fortify them, the official said, noting that it was very important to be able to “support the successes we have seen from the Ukrainians on the battlefield”.
The official said the addition of demining equipment, which includes 40 mine-resistant vehicles with rollers that can safely explode mines, is to help Ukrainians with more offensive actions.
“The Ukrainians will need this type of capability to be able to advance their forces and retake territory,” the official said.
Similarly, the supply of HARM missiles is aimed at eroding Russian air defenses.
Air-to-surface missiles focus on emissions from radar systems and can be used to attack at a range of 30 miles (50 kilometers).
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