Washington: Ukraine got a major boost in the ongoing conflict with Russia with the White House announcing another $1 billion in security assistance including for the first time two Harpoon coastal defence systems that will be mounted on trucks — a capability not currently in US inventory.
In addition to the Harpoon systems, the package includes 18 Howitzers, more ammunition for the HIMARS long-range rocket systems, thousands of secure radios, night vision systems and funding for everything from training to administrative costs, according to a breakdown provided by the Defence Department media reports said.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that the rocket systems and artillery, in particular, are the weapons “the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas” in eastern Ukraine.
“This morning, I spoke with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss Russia’s brutal and ongoing war against Ukraine,” Biden said. “I reaffirmed my commitment that the United States will stand by Ukraine as it defends its democracy and support its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression.”
On top of the $1 billion in security aid, Biden announced some $225 million in “humanitarian assistance” to help Ukrainians get safe drinking water, medical supplies and the like. The announcement came just hours Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke at the Ukraine Defence Contract Group in Belgium, saying Ukraine is “facing a pivotal moment on the battlefield.”
“We’re working in lockstep to meet Ukraine’s requests for new capabilities — particularly its need for long-range fires, armour and coastal defence,” he said.