Home News U.S. military aid to Ukraine may flow again soon

U.S. military aid to Ukraine may flow again soon

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U.S. weapons shipments to Ukraine may begin again after the House of Representatives approved a long-stalled aid package, with shipments from the Pentagon’s stockpile in Germany set to be quickly shipped by rail to the Ukrainian border, U.S. officials said.

The measure would provide about $60 billion for the war in Ukraine. A large amount of the money will be used to replenish the U.S. defense stockpile, and billions more will be used to purchase U.S. defense systems that Ukrainian officials say are urgently needed.

The Senate is expected to pass the bill, and President Biden has said he will sign it into law.

Ukrainian military officials have complained for months that political paralysis in the U.S. Congress has led to severe ammunition shortages in the war with Russia. Ukrainian troops on the front line had to ration their supply of artillery shells, and morale suffered.

U.S. officials have not yet made clear what weapons the U.S. will send to Kyiv as part of the plan, but Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters on Thursday that more anti-aircraft and artillery munitions could be included.

“We have a very robust logistics network that allows us to move supplies as quickly as we have in the past,” Gen. Ryder said.

“We can move in a matter of days,” he added.

Transshipment from the United States via cargo planes and sea vessels Normally arranged by U.S. Transportation Command HeadquartersBased in rural Illinois, the company maintains an extensive database of freight ports, rail and highways used by military and civilian transportation vehicles around the world.

Weapons and ammunition shipped to Ukraine are typically sourced from Pentagon assets in Europe, with shipments coordinated by an organization created in late 2022. Ukraine Security Assistance Group, based in Germany and operating within the Pentagon’s European Command. It has approximately 300 employees.

Since August 2021, military leaders have sent 55 weapons assistance packages called PDAs (Presidential Drawdown Authorizations) to Ukraine, which include vehicles, ammunition, drones and other items worth at least $26.3 billion.

Aid packages typically come twice a month in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but were significantly slowed last fall amid strong opposition from some Republicans to more aid to the country.

The final aid package announced on March 12 included Stinger anti-aircraft missile, guided rocket for HIMARS launch vehiclesmall anti-tank rockets and 155mm artillery ammunition, including cluster munitions.

General Ryder was asked about a non-binding measure in House legislation to send weapons to Kiev air transport management systemthe Pentagon’s longest-range ground-launched missile since the late 1980s.

The Biden administration agreed last year to provide a small number of such missiles, which are used by Ukrainian forces October attacks on two air bases in Russian-occupied territory. Ukrainian special operations forces said the attack damaged a runway and destroyed nine Russian helicopters, among other targets.

“Of course, as you know, we always say nothing is impossible,” the general said of potential new provisions of ATACMS. “But I have nothing to announce today.”

The United States has a limited number of such weapons, and officials say the remainder of their ATACMS arsenal is reserved for contingency planning in the event the United States goes to war with Russia, North Korea or China.

Officials also said more ATACMS could be provided to Ukraine once replacement weapons, known as precision strike missiles, begin entering the Pentagon’s inventory.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the two missiles, said the company delivered the first four operational precision strike missiles to the U.S. Army last year. A $220 million contract signed in March will provide the Army with more equipment, but it’s unclear how much equipment will be purchased.

The exact number of weapons the Pentagon shipped to Kyiv from its stockpile is also unclear.

The Department of Defense last updated the number of 155mm artillery shells supplied to Ukraine in May, when it said more than 2 million such shells had been sent to Ukraine so far. Each of the 17 aid packages announced for Ukraine since then included 155 mm ammunition.

But providing more arms to Ukraine depends on more than just political will. The United States must also accelerate production of the ammunition Ukraine needs most to meet its needs.

In the United States, artillery ammunition is manufactured it will take a few weeksHeavy steel rods were forged into hollow projectiles in Scranton, Pennsylvania, then shipped to rural Iowa, where they were filled with explosives and prepared for delivery.

General Dynamics, which operates the Pennsylvania plant Opened new factory to produce metal casings outside of Dallas to help increase the total number of completed shells. The Army says it produces about 30,000 high-explosive bombs a month, up from about 14,000 a month before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

army The goal is to produce 100,000 By 2025, the 155mm cannon can be fired every month.

The United States is not the only country providing military aid to Kiev.

Beginning in April 2022, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III convened Ukrainian Defense Contact Group Meeting About every month. Participants included NATO countries, several major U.S. non-NATO allies, and at least two South American countries that had previously purchased weapons from the Soviet Union and Russia.

The group solicits requests directly from Ukraine’s military and civilian leadership.

back Friday’s virtual meeting of NATO defense ministersJens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s secretary-general, said Germany would provide additional aid Patriot air defense missile system Aid to Ukraine and approximately $4.3 billion in military support from the Netherlands and other assistance from NATO members.

“Ukraine is using the weapons we provide to destroy Russia’s combat capabilities,” Stoltenberg said in a statement. “It makes us all safer.”

“Support for Ukraine is therefore not charity,” he added. “This is an investment in our safety.”

Robert Jimison and Helen Cooper Contributed reporting.

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