US announces support for Ukraine, European allies

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A soldier supports an M32 Bradley Fighting Vehicle into the cargo bay of a C-17 led by Master Sgt. Krystopher Schwandt, load master, to transport back to Fort Benning GA. September 19, 2012.

Photo: Tech. Sgt. Michael OHalloran | US Army | FlickrCC

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration announced nearly $3.8 billion in security aid to Ukraine and European allies on Friday, Washington’s largest package since the full-scale invasion of Russia began nearly a year ago.

The upcoming military aid package, the 29th such tranche, brings the US commitment to the Ukraine fight to about $24.9 billion since the start of the Biden administration.

The aid includes $2.9 billion in weapons that will be provided immediately to Ukraine and $225 million in long-term funding to support Ukraine’s military. The package also includes $682 million in foreign military funding to rebuild the arsenals of European allies.

The $2.85 billion military package includes Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, artillery systems, armored personnel carriers, surface-to-air missiles and ammunition.

New to this support package are 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, armored tracked vehicles manufactured by a US defense company BAE Systems. Bradleys are usually equipped with a rotating turret, a mounted 25mm gun and TOW anti-tank missiles. The US will provide 500 TOW anti-tank missiles and 250,000 rounds of ammunition for use with the Bradleys.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said it would take “some time” for the vehicles to reach Ukraine.

“I can tell you we’re going to do it as soon as I can,” Kirby said when pressed for a timeline at a White House briefing.

He said it “won’t take very long” for Ukrainian forces to learn how to use the vehicles when US troops train them outside of Ukraine.

Also included in the security support package are:

  • 100 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers
  • 55 Mine Resistant Ambush Defense Vehicles
  • 138 High Mobility Multi-Wheel Vehicles
  • 18 155mm automatic howitzers and 18 armored support vehicles
  • 70,000 155mm artillery rounds
  • 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds
  • 1,200 155mm rounds of anti-armor mine systems
  • 36 105mm towed Howitzers and 95,000 105mm artillery rounds
  • 10,000 120mm mortar rounds
  • About 2,000 anti-armor rockets

The US will deploy additional weapons for the Highly Mobile Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, as well as RIM-7 missiles for air defense and 4,000 Zuni anti-aircraft rockets. The Pentagon will also supply Ukraine with sniper rifles, machine guns, ammunition for grenade launchers and small arms, as well as night vision devices, spare parts and other field equipment.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked President Joe Biden for the “very powerful” security package during a video message on his official Telegram channel.

“Today a new one was announced, and a very powerful one! A package of American defense support for our country. For the first time, we will get Bradleys armored vehicles, this is exactly what is needed,” said Zelenskyy.

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