US announces fresh military and financial aid for Ukraine
Russia has suffered 70,000 to 80,000 casualties – troops killed or wounded in action – since the war began, a US official says.
The United States has announced a fresh round of military and financial aid to Ukraine as Kyiv continues to battle Russian forces in the east and south of the country.
The Pentagon announced $1bn in military aid on Monday, and separately the World Bank said it was providing $4.5bn in budgetary assistance to the Ukrainian government, financed by the US government.
The new weapons package – the 18th of its kind since the war began in February – includes high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), mortar and artillery ammunition, Javelin anti-tank missile systems, explosives and demolition equipment.
“As we have made clear at every level of this administration, we’re committed to continued security assistance for Ukraine as they stand up to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion,” US Defense Department Under Secretary for Policy Colin Kahl told reporters on Monday.
The release of aid comes from the more than $40bn the US Congress allocated for aid to Ukraine earlier this year.
Moscow has previously accused Washington of adding “fuel to the fire” of the conflict by providing weapons and long-range missiles to Ukraine.
Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24 after a months-long standoff that saw Moscow amass troops near the Ukrainian borders as Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded an end to NATO expansion into former Soviet republics.
But in recent months, Moscow has scaled back its war objectives, shifting its military efforts to the eastern Donbas region and coastal cities in the south after failing to capture the Ukrainian capital.
Kahl stressed on Monday that Moscow has not achieved any of Putin’s “overall” objectives, noting that Russia did not succeed in implementing regime change or capturing Kyiv.
“They [Russian forces] have made some incremental gains in the east – although not very much in the last couple of weeks,” Kahl said. “But that has come at extraordinary cost to the Russian military because of how well the Ukrainian military has performed and all the assistance that the Ukrainian military has gotten.”
Russian forces have suffered around 70,000 to 80,000 casualties – a combination of troops killed or wounded in action – “in less than six months”, Kahl added.
“The war is the most intense conventional conflict in Europe since the Second World War, but the… Ukrainians have a lot of advantages, not the least of which their will to fight,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, the World Bank said the $4.5bn in new aid to Kyiv, funded by a US grant, will “contribute to sustaining the government’s administrative and service delivery capacity to exercise core functions at the national and regional levels”.
“Ukraine needs continued government services, including health, education, and social protection to prevent further deterioration in living conditions and poverty,” World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement.
“We are grateful to the United States and our partners for their ongoing support through our rapid support mechanisms and for the generous grant that will greatly support the Ukrainian people.”