US commits extra US$300 mil in security aid to Ukraine

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The package includes laser-guided rocket systems, drones, ammunition, night-vision devices and medical supplies. (AP pic)

AFP

WASHINGTON: The US Defense Department announced Friday that it is allotting US$300 million in “security assistance” for Ukraine to bolster the country’s defence capabilities, adding to the US$1.6 billion Washington has committed since Russia invaded in late February.

The package includes laser-guided rocket systems, drones, ammunition, night-vision devices, tactical secure communications systems, medical supplies and spare parts.

“This decision underscores the US’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in support of its heroic efforts to repel Russia’s war of choice,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed “additional capabilities” to help the Ukrainian military, the White House said in a statement after the call.

In mid-March, Congress passed a funding bill that included US$13.6 billion for humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine and Nato allies in eastern Europe.

Shortly after, Biden announced US$1 billion in new security assistance to Ukraine.

A large portion of the military equipment the US has given to Ukraine has come from its own stockpile, through a process known as a “presidential drawdown”.

Unlike that process, the US$300 million announced Friday will go towards new contracts for military equipment from the Pentagon’s defence industry partners.

One of the technologies included in the announcement is more Switchblade tactical drones.

Dubbed “kamikaze drones”, Switchblades can be directed by an operator to find and, when ready, plunge onto a target, exploding on contact.

Kirby added that the “US also continues to work with its allies and partners to identify and provide to the Ukrainians additional capabilities”.