(Bloomberg) -- The US said it will provide another $450 million in advanced weaponry and aid to Ukraine, the latest tranche in what has become a multibillion-dollar effort to help push back Russia’s invasion.
The new package includes patrol boats, cannon shells, rocket systems and additional ammunition to “help Ukraine defend its democracy in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday. Kirby said US security assistance since the war began now totals about $6.1 billion.
The move comes just weeks after President Joe Biden announced $1 billion in new weapons and support, including high-technology rocket systems meant to allow Ukraine to hit Russian targets from as far as 80 kilometers (50 miles) away. After required training for Ukraine’s military, some of those weapons are now flowing into the country.
With the war about to enter its fifth month, the conflict has transformed into a slow grind that’s largely centered in Ukraine’s east. Russian troops this week seized two more villages south of Lysychansk, in Luhansk, a stronghold Kyiv relies on in its defense in that area.
According to a Pentagon statement, the new assistance includes four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems; 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition; 18 tactical vehicles to tow 155mm artillery; 1,200 grenade launchers; 2,000 machine guns; and 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats.
US officials including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have rejected criticism that new American and NATO weaponry is flowing into Ukraine too slowly to change the course of the war.
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“When you’re in a fight you can never get enough and never get it quick enough,” Austin told reporters in Brussels last week, after saying “we remain focused on Ukraine’s needs, and we understand what those needs are.”
Biden and other G-7 and NATO leaders will have the Ukraine war and its impacts -- including on energy supplies and inflation -- at the top of their agenda when they gather for two separate meetings next week in Germany and Spain.
Ukraine will also look for assurances that its request to join the European Union remains on track. The time line for Ukraine to achieve EU membership will hinge on the country’s ability to enact reforms, as well as the course of the war, a top aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.
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