Nearly six months after the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the Biden administration announced a billion-dollar security assistance package for Ukraine on Monday, the same day it announced $1 billion in aid. some $4.5 billion to keep the Ukrainian government running.

Acting Pentagon Press Secretary Todd Breasseale announced that the latest $1 billion in aid “to meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs” is the 18th equipment draw by the Pentagon. Biden administration on Pentagon stocks for Ukraine since August 2021.

It is also “the largest reduction in US weapons and equipment” using presidential authority, he noted, meaning that military aid comes directly from US stockpiles.

“President Biden has been clear that we will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine as they defend their country against Russian aggression for as long as it takes,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. a statement. “As part of these efforts, pursuant to a delegation of authority from the President, I am today authorizing our largest withdrawal of U.S. weapons and equipment using this authority.”

Previously, the largest aid package to Ukraine was announced in June, but it came from both the presidential withdrawal authority and the authority granted to the Pentagon by the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). , which was created in 2015 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Latest arms package brings U.S. commitment of security assistance to Ukraine since start of 2014 to $11.8 billion, and since start of Biden administration to $9.8 billion .

The weapons package “provides a significant amount of additional ammunition, weapons and equipment – the types that the people of Ukraine use so effectively to defend their country,” Breasseale said.

The package’s capabilities include additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which have a range of around 40 miles and allow Ukrainian forces to hit distant targets with greater accuracy. So far, the United States has provided 16 HIMARS to Ukraine.

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl declined to specify how many HIMARS rockets were included in the latest package.

“We never gave precise numbers on the rockets. We don’t want to warn the Russians in minute detail. But what I can say is that since we supplied the HIMARS and the associated munitions, called GMLRS, which stands for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems – these are precision-guided missiles with a range of about 70 km – we have supplied several hundred of these systems over the past few weeks. But I’m not going to go into detail on the specific number in this package,” he told reporters on Monday.

The weapons package also includes ammunition for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system that is the same system used to protect the airspace around the White House and from the Capitol to Washington. Kahl reminded reporters that there was “no NASAMS in this package”.

Other weapons and equipment shipment capacities include 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition; 20 mortar systems of 120 mm; 20,000 120mm mortar shells; 1,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles and hundreds of AT4 anti-armour systems; Claymore anti-personnel mines; C-4 explosives, demolition munitions and demolition equipment.

Finally, the bundle includes 50 armored medical treatment vehicles, as well as medical supplies, which will include first aid kits, bandages, monitors and other equipment.

Kahl told reporters that Russia would have between 3,000 and 4,000 Russian armored vehicles in Ukraine midway through the war. “A lot of that [loss] it’s because of the anti-armour systems like Javelin, like the AT-4s, that are in this package, but also, frankly, because of the creativity and the ingenuity in the way the Ukrainians used those systems,” did he declare.

“There’s a lot of fog in the war, but I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians probably had 70,000 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months,” Kahl also said. “It’s a combination of killed in action and wounded in action, and that number could be a little lower, a little higher, but I think it’s a little in the ballpark.”

Blinken said the United States and its allies “will continue to consult closely with Ukraine and build additional available systems and capabilities carefully calibrated to make a difference on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine’s eventual position at the negotiating table”.

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Mimi Nguyen Ly covers world news with a focus on US news. Contact her at [email protected]