US to send Ukraine advanced surface-to-air missile systems
The US announces $820m in new military aid, including counter-artillery radars, to respond to Russia’s heavy reliance on long-range strikes in the war.
The United States says it will send Ukraine two NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems, four counter-artillery radars, and about 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition to assist Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.
The Pentagon on Friday said the additional material will come as part of the latest US assistance package for Ukraine, announced by US President Joe Biden at a gathering of NATO leaders and expected to total about $820m.
The package announced on Thursday will also reportedly include more ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
The US hopes its latest assistance will bolster the Ukrainian resistance as Russia pushes forward with a campaign of long-range missile attacks that have rocked Ukrainian cities and a series of Russian successes on the ground in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has made the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk a focus of its assault, hoping to force Kyiv to give up on its hopes of wresting control of them back from Russia.
The US military support brings its total contribution to the Ukrainian war effort to nearly $7bn since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, causing large-scale death and displacement in Ukraine and instability in global markets and supply chains.
“We are going to support Ukraine as long as it takes,” US President Joe Biden said this week at a press conference during the NATO summit in Madrid.
The US is giving Ukrainians “the capacity” so that “they can continue to resist the Russian aggression,” Biden said. “And so I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude.
“I am especially grateful today to the United States and to Biden personally for the package of support for Ukraine announced today, which includes very powerful NASAMS – an anti-aircraft missile system that will significantly strengthen our air defence. We have worked hard for these supplies,” Zelenskyy said late on Friday in his nightly video address.
Much of the aid formally announced on Friday will take weeks or months to reach Ukraine, The Associated Press said.
While the US remains the largest contributor to the Ukrainian war effort, other countries have also stepped up assistance.
Turkey has armed Ukraine with Bayraktar TB2 combat drones.
The United Kingdom has committed more than half a billion dollars in support, including armoured vehicles, anti-tank missiles, air defence systems, rockets and explosives.
Canada has likewise given more than $200m worth of supplies since February. Ukraine has also received assistance from countries such as Spain, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, as well as several of its neighbours, including Poland and Slovakia.