The US announced more military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he promised his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy a security package worth more than $1 billion (€956.75 million) in a phone call. Includes additional artillery, coastal defense weapon systems and ammunition. Aid must support Ukraine in its struggle in Donbass.
In addition, another $225 million in humanitarian aid would be made available to people in the country. Ukraine has repeatedly asked the West to hand over weapons as soon as possible in the face of intense fighting in the east of the country.
According to previous sources, the new military aid is divided into two packages. One comes mainly from US stockpiles and includes, in particular, ammunition for rocket launchers and artillery pieces worth more than $350 million. The second package, valued at about $650 million, is expected to include “Harpoon” anti-ship missiles and night vision devices. This will be funded through a special program authorized by Congress for Ukraine. It would be the first time the US would consider sending the Harpoon. According to experts, rockets made by Boeing cost about 1.5 million dollars each.
In the meantime, NATO will continue to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons and long-range systems, said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. He hopes that a new aid package for Ukraine will be agreed at the NATO summit on June 29 and 30 in Madrid. “We are very focused on increasing support,” says the NATO Secretary General. The aid package should allow Ukraine to transition from Soviet-style weapons to Western weapons.
At the same time, Stoltenberg invited Ukrainian President Zelenskyy as a guest to the NATO summit. However, it remains unclear whether Zelenskyy will actually arrive or be connected from his office in Kyiv. “He is welcome to come in person. If that is not possible for him, he will speak to us via video conference,” Stoltenberg said.
At the summit meeting of the Western military alliance that begins on June 28 in the Spanish capital, the heads of state and government of the 30 NATO countries want to decide how the alliance will react to the threats of Russia’s war policy in the medium and long term. Specifically, this involves, for example, strengthening the eastern flank with additional NATO troops. The Baltic states, in particular, have been pushing for significantly greater support from allies since the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
The country is “facing a pivotal moment on the battlefield,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in Brussels on Wednesday. He was alluding to the bitter struggle against Russian units in the east of the country.
Germany plans to supply Ukraine with three MARS II multiple rocket launcher artillery systems. The announcement was made by Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht after talks with representatives from nearly 50 countries to coordinate military support to Ukraine. MARS II can hit targets over 80 kilometers away.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov also attended the meeting. His ministry had previously complained that Kyiv had only received “about ten percent” of the weapons demanded by the West. For the fighting in Donbass, Ukraine wants heavy weapons, such as tanks and howitzers, among other things.
Following the Ukraine liaison group, NATO defense ministers will have a working lunch with Ukraine and Georgia, as well as Sweden and Finland, on Wednesday night. The NATO Council, which lasts until Thursday, serves as a preparation for the Madrid summit.
Britain says it will soon supply Ukraine with several rocket launchers to help the country defend itself against Russia. “I think delivery is imminent,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Wednesday in Oslo on the sidelines of a meeting of the multinational Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).
Britain had already announced the delivery of the MLRS multiple rocket launcher system on 6 June. According to military experts, its range of up to 80 kilometers is slightly longer than that of similar Russian systems. Thus, Kiev’s forces could hit enemy artillery without reaching range.
In addition to the MLRS missile launchers, Britain is also considering the delivery of Harpoon anti-ship missiles, which Denmark and the Netherlands have also promised Ukraine, Wallace said. Norwegian Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram said after meeting with Wallace that his country is also considering further arms sales to Ukraine.