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Russia Ukraine conflict

Biden announces new weapons package worth $1 bln for Ukraine

The latest assistance will include additional artillery, coastal defense weapons, and ammunition for the artillery and advanced rocket systems “that the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas,” the White House said.

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US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a new weapons package worth $1 billion for Ukraine, including the first batch of coastal defense weapons, as Kyiv continues to fend off Russia’s invasion.

Biden informed Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of the latest aid during a phone call earlier in the day, the White House said.

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The latest package will include additional artillery, coastal defense weapons, and ammunition for the artillery and advanced rocket systems “that the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas,” according to a statement from Biden.

Taiwanese warship launching a US-made Harpoon missile from an unlocated place in the sea near Taiwan. (File Photo: AFP)
Taiwanese warship launching a US-made Harpoon missile from an unlocated place in the sea near Taiwan. (File Photo: AFP)

Separately, Biden also announced $225 million in additional humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians get drinking water, medical supplies, healthcare, food, and shelter.

“We also remain committed to supporting the Ukrainian people whose lives have been ripped apart by this war,” Biden said. “The bravery, resilience, and determination of the Ukrainian people continues to inspire the world.”

After Biden’s announcement, senior US defense officials spoke to reporters to provide more details, specifically on the Harpoon coastal defense systems. This is the first time Washington has provided this to Ukraine, and the Pentagon said it would provide “significantly stronger deterrence.”

“They’re not being provided with any conditions,” one defense official said when asked if the US had requested guarantees from Ukraine about not attacking specific Russian targets. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

The US previously demanded guarantees from Kyiv that it would not attack Russian forces outside its borders when it pledged High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS).

US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers fire salvoes during the African Lion military exercise in southeastern Morocco, June 9, 2021. (AFP)
US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers fire salvoes during the African Lion military exercise in southeastern Morocco, June 9, 2021. (AFP)

But the US will provide the Harpoon launchers, not the missiles, which NATO allies have promised. The truck-mounted system will take “a couple of months” to arrive because Washington does not currently have any and they need to be produced.

In Biden’s statement, he said the weapons would support Ukraine in its defensive operations in the Donbas. Asked about reports that Russia was progressing in the east of Ukraine, the Pentagon official said: “We’re likely to be in this phase for a while. The Russian gains continue to be incremental.”

The official added: “We believe that when these capabilities do arrive, they will make a significant difference and that they will arrive in time to do so.”

The Pentagon also released a breakdown of the weapons and aid to be delivered:

  • 18 155mm Howitzers
  • 36,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition
  • 18 Tactical Vehicles to tow 155mm Howitzers
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)
  • Four Tactical Vehicles to recover equipment
  • Two Harpoon coastal defense systems
  • Thousands of secure radios
  • Thousands of Night Vision devices, thermal sights, and other optics
  • Funding for training, maintenance, sustainment, transportation, and administrative costs

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