Biden announces new weapons worth  billion for Ukraine, Kyiv wants more heavy weapons

Biden announces new weapons worth $1 billion for Ukraine, Kyiv wants more heavy weapons

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a new US infusion of $1 billion in weapons to Ukraine, including anti-ship missile systems, artillery missiles, howitzers and ammunition.

In a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Biden said he told the embattled leader about the new weapons.

“The United States is providing an additional $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including additional artillery and coastal defense weapons, as well as artillery ammunition and advanced missile systems,” Biden said in a statement after the 41-minute call.

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The President also announced an additional $225 million in humanitarian assistance to help the people of Ukraine, including by providing safe drinking water, critical medical supplies and healthcare, food, shelter and cash for families to purchase essential items .

The latest weapons packages for Ukraine include 18 howitzers, 36,000 rounds of ammunition for them, two Harpoon coastal defense systems, artillery missiles, secure radios, thousands of night vision goggles and funds for training, the Pentagon said.

In Kyiv, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he spoke to Foreign Minister Antony Blinken to thank him for “crucial military assistance” from the United States.

“(I) emphasized that we urgently need more heavy weapons, which are supplied more regularly,” he said on Twitter.

US President Joe Biden returns to the White House on June 14, 2022 in Washington, USA. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The aid packages coming during US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s meeting with allies in Brussels have been divided into two categories: transfers of surplus defense equipment from US stocks and other weapons funded by the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), a separate program approved by Congress.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia on Wednesday accused western countries of “waging a proxy war with Russia,” telling reporters, “I want to say to the western countries that are supplying arms to Ukraine — the blood of civilians is on your hands.” “

Ukraine is urging the United States and other Western nations for rapid arms shipments amid mounting pressure from Russian forces in the eastern Donbass region.

Oleksandra Ustinova, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, told reporters at an event organized by the German Marshall Fund: “We need all these weapons to defeat the Russians in a moment, and not just every two or three weeks.”

In May, the Biden administration announced a plan to give Ukraine high-mobility M142 artillery-missile systems after receiving assurances from Kyiv that it would not use them to hit targets on Russian territory. Biden stipulated that the Ukraine war should not escalate. Continue reading

The missile artillery in this aid package would have the same range as previous U.S. missile shipments and is funded through the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), under which the President authorizes the transfer of items and services from U.S. stocks without Congressional approval in response to an authorization may be an emergency, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

For the first time, the United States is sending ground-based harpoon launchers. In May, Reuters reported the US was working on possible solutions, including withdrawing a launch vehicle from a US ship to allow Ukraine to launch Harpoon missiles. Continue reading

Harpoons manufactured by Boeing Co (BA.N) cost about $1.5 million per missile, according to experts and industry leaders.

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Reporting by Mike Stone, Patricia Zengerle, Humeyra Pamuk and Steve Holland in Washington, Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, Idrees Ali in Brussels and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Adaptation by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski

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