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US announces billions in military, budgetary aid to Ukraine

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) fires the Army's new guided Multiple Launch Rocket System during testing at White Sands Missile Range. (U.S. Army)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United States has announced another $1 billion in new military aid for Ukraine, pledging what will be the largest delivery yet of rockets, ammunition, and other arms from Defense Department stockpiles to Ukrainian forces.

The Pentagon announcement on August 8 came as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) pledged an additional $4.5 billion to Ukraine’s government for basic services such as electricity flow to hospitals and the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Ukrainians.

The military aid includes additional rockets for high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), which Ukraine says have been effective in helping its forces on the battlefield.

In addition to rockets for the HIMARS, the aid includes thousands of artillery rounds, mortar systems, Javelins, and other ammunition and equipment, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The aid is the 18th drawdown of equipment from Department of Defense inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.

“In total, the United States has now committed approximately $9.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration,” acting Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale said in the statement.

Until now, the largest single security-assistance package announcement was for $1 billion on June 15. That aid included $650 million under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative in addition to a drawdown of $350 million.

USAID said the aid it announced on August 8 brings its total budgetary support since Russia’s February invasion to $8.5 billion.

The funding, coordinated with the U.S. Treasury Department through the World Bank, will go to Ukraine’s government in tranches, beginning with a $3 billion disbursement in August, USAID said in a news release.

The new funds are to help it maintain essential functions, including social and financial assistance for poor people, children with disabilities, and millions of internally displaced persons.

The World Bank estimates that 55 percent of Ukrainians will be living in poverty by the end of 2023 as a result of the war and the large numbers of displaced persons.

That compares with 2.5 percent living in poverty before the start of the war.