Howitzers, drones highlight Ukraine’s latest US push in fight against Russia

Howitzers, drones highlight Ukraine’s latest US push in fight against Russia

Ukraine is set to receive an additional $775 million in US military aid to bolster its ongoing war against Russia.

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced on Friday that an aid package containing howitzers, drones, armored vehicles, missiles, artillery shells and ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) will soon be sent to Ukraine.

The new aid was the nineteenth package sent to Ukraine under presidential authority since August 2021, with President Joe Biden’s administration sending a total of $10.6 billion in military aid to the war-torn country since January 2021 Has.

“President Biden has made it clear that we will continue to support the people of Ukraine to defend their country from Russian aggression for as long as necessary,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “The United States stands with our allies and partners from more than 50 countries in providing vital security assistance to help defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“The United States will continue to provide additional systems and capabilities to Ukraine,” he added. “These capabilities are carefully calibrated to make the greatest possible difference on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table.”

The package approved on Friday includes 15 ScanEagle surveillance drones, which the US has not previously sent to Ukraine, although another unnamed country has, according to a Portal report citing an anonymous senior US defense official.

Ukraine military aid package Pentagon Biden Russia

Ukrainian troops prepare to fire a US-made M777 howitzer on the front lines in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on August 1, 2022. The US Department of Defense on Friday announced a new $775 million military aid package for Ukraine. SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty

The Department of Defense announced that the new aid also includes the following items:

  • 40 mine-resistant MaxxPro Ambush Protected Vehicles with mine rollers
  • 16 105mm howitzers and 36,000 105mm artillery shells
  • 50 wheeled armored multi-role highly mobile vehicles
  • 1,500 tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missiles
  • 1,000 Javelin armor systems
  • Additional HIMARS ammo
  • 2,000 anti-tank shells
  • Mine clearance equipment and systems
  • explosive ammunition
  • Tactical secure communications systems
  • Night vision devices, thermal imaging systems, optics and laser range finders.

The package was announced shortly after the comprehensive Ukraine Support Tracker reported that international pledges to provide assistance to Ukraine “dried up in July”. It also came less than two weeks after the Defense Department announced on Aug. 8 a massive $1 billion military aid package to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Biden for approving the package in a tweet on Friday.

“I appreciate another very much [U.S.] $775 million military aid package,” Zelensky tweeted. “Thank you @POTUS for making this decision! We took another important step to defeat the attacker. [Ukraine] will be free!”

According to Portal, advanced missiles supplied by Western countries were used by Ukraine to attack behind Russian lines last month. Ukraine has also warned that Russian-held Crimea, where a series of explosions have damaged military bases since last week, is no longer safe from attack.

Russia has repeatedly denounced the US for arms sales to Ukraine, while threatening to widen the scope of the war and accusing the US of being “directly involved” by sending aid.

“The extent of Washington’s influence on Kyiv exceeds all conceivable limits,” Alexander Darchiev, director of the Russian foreign ministry’s North America department, told the Russian state news agency TASS in an interview last week.

“In addition to large-scale military and financial aid and moral support for the Zelenskyi regime, Americans are increasingly becoming a direct party to the conflict,” he added.

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian government for comment.