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US outlines details of new military aid package for Ukraine valued at $2.6 billion

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 unveiled details of $2.6 billion in new military aid for Ukraine to assist the country in its war against Russian forces.

The package includes a wide variety of ammunition from Pentagon stockpiles meant to arrive quickly on the battlefield.

About $500 million of the package is to be drawn from U.S. stockpiles, while the remaining $2.1 billion is to come in the form of Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funding, which pays for the procurement of equipment directly from the defense industry.

The drawdown — the 35th from U.S. Defense Department inventories that the Biden Administration has authorized for Ukraine since August 2021 — provides ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and for Patriot air defense systems.

The drawdown will provide “artillery rounds that Ukraine is using to defend itself, as well as anti-armor systems, small arms, heavy equipment transport vehicles, and maintenance support essential to strengthening Ukraine’s defenders on the battlefield,” the Pentagon said in a news release.

The $2.1 billion in USAI funds will provide Ukraine with additional ammunition for U.S.-provided National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), laser-guided rocket systems, air surveillance radar, and gun trucks designed to shoot down drones.

“The United States will continue…to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements,” the Pentagon statement added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba commented on the aid package ahead of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

“We very much appreciate everything that the United States has done specifically in the last month to help our army prepare itself for the counteroffensive,” Kuleba said.

“The Biden administration has upheld its commitment to provide Ukraine with a lot of what we need and set an example to other allies,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy referred to the package in a video address on April 4 to the U.S. National Governors Association.

“Our cooperation will allow for the new enhancement of your security, for our economy and yours, for jobs in both our countries,” Zelenskiy said.

“The main thing is not to lose time, not to lose the chance we have. Act now, help now. Ukrainians act so that Americans don’t have to fight — and together we gain new strength for our countries,” he said.

The Russian Embassy in Washington reacted to the announcement by accusing the United States of wanting to drag out the conflict.

“The decision to supply weapons to Kyiv is a step toward escalating the Ukrainian crisis and increasing the number of civilian casualties,” TASS cited an embassy statement as saying.

The new weapons and funding come as Ukrainian troops prepare for a spring offensive against Russian forces, which continue to bombard Ukraine with long-range missiles.