US Pledges $3 Billion in Arms to Help Ukraine ‘Retake Land’

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Opinion

The United States has moved to a new level of military aid to Ukraine, adding armored fighting vehicles and mobile artillery in the largest military aid package since Russia’s invasion last February. The Defense Department said the equipment would allow Kyiv’s forces to launch offensive ground attacks against fortified Russian lines in the east and south of the country.

“We are in a position in Ukraine to be able to move forward and take back territory,” Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper told reporters Friday, describing the value $3 billion of new security aid to Ukraine.

Along with the recently announced US and European training of thousands of Ukrainian troops in a Western-style joint military exercise, the new military marks a point of inclusion for the United States and its allies, who have so far characterized their support as largely defensive.

While continuing to provide defense equipment, including the Patriot surface-to-air missile system, Ukraine’s sponsors are now making it clear that intended to help “change the dynamic” on the battlefield from what Cooper called “inches forward” aggressively. front lines largely static, to more progress in regaining territory lost to the Russians.

“That’s what we’re looking forward to seeing in the coming months,” she said.

Ukraine’s major territorial gains, such as the recapture of the Kharkiv region in the north in September, often rely on surprise maneuvers against a poorly supplied, trained and positioned enemy. Russian troops in November returned from the southern city of Kherson to more defensive positions on the other side of the Dnieper River that has been difficult for Ukraine to access.

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Topping the list of new items are 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles – armed with tank-busting TOW missiles and hundreds of thousands of rounds of 25mm ammunition – and 18 automatic howitzers.

While not the heavy battle tanks Ukraine has been looking for, the Bradleys are agile and fast, with “​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ put​​ experience. his behavior, Cooper said. They will complement France’s AMX-10 RC light tanks and German Marder infantry fighting vehicles announced this week, she said, along with agreements with the United States and the Netherlands to purchase T-72 main battle tanks. Russia modernized received from former Soviet bloc countries. to add to Ukraine’s existing stocks.

All of them, with the exception of the T-72s, were long on Ukraine’s wish list, but were rejected by the West because they were logistically complex and would send an escalation signal to the Kremlin. But Moscow’s relentless bombing of civilian areas and energy infrastructure in recent months, the stalemate on the eastern and southern fronts, and the apparent prowess of Ukrainian forces seem to have changed the change their weapons and use new equipment, Western calculus.

RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles – air defense weapons designed to be fired from sea or land – are also part of the package and will be combined with Soviet-era Buk launchers, Cooper said, “a creative solution that ‘ required some engineering. “

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that the new aid was among the “hard results” of his visit to Washington late last month, as he spoke to other partners.

“Finally, we can say that we have taken the strength of the Ukrainian defense and cooperation with partners to a new level. The one we really need right now,” Zelensky said in his evening speech in Kyiv. “For the first time, we will get Bradley Fighting Vehicles – this is exactly what is needed. New guns and projectiles, including high accuracy ones. New missiles. New drones.”

Washington has touted the need for a “united military” a warfighting concept that integrates armor, infantry, aircraft and other weapons and tactics to support and aid each other. Overcoming enemies and exploiting weaknesses is a key element favored by bosses.

Experts have pointed to Russia’s failure to protect its military units with infantry as the main reason they were picked apart in their bid to overrun Kyiv in the early days of the offensive. .

Much of the new weaponry, along with the training to run it, will take months to reach the battlefield, and it seems the time is right to expect a spring offensive in Ukraine over land. wide, flat eastern part of the country. An offensive against Russian positions would require troops to move quickly in well-protected vehicles, said Bradley Bowman, a foreign policy and military analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

The Bradleys will strengthen firepower​​​​​​​​ and allow Ukrainian infantry to keep up with armored units. “Their primary purpose is mechanical warfare,” he said. “And mechanized warfare is mobile warfare.”

The US and Germany will send armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine

Other weapons on the list, including additional Humvees, M113 armored personnel carriers and mine-resistant vehicles, also suggest a need for mobility and protection.

The automatic M109 howitzers are the first, adding to what other Western allies have provided. Howitzers previously fielded by the United States required a separate truck to haul them around the battlefield, but M109s are mounted on tank-like tracks, allowing them to fire and move to safety quickly, a technique called “shoot and scoot.”

Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.

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