Ukraine welcomes latest US aid package as war nears two year mark

The package, valued at $250m, will include air defence system components and artillery rounds.

Rescuers work at a site of Russian military strike, in Kherson, Ukraine
Rescuers work at a site of Russian military strike, in Kherson, Ukraine [Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters]

Ukraine has welcomed the latest arms package from the United States to aid its fight against Russia as the war approaches the two-year mark.

The package, valued at $250m and announced on Wednesday night, will include air defence system components, ammunition for HIMARS, 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, stinger antiaircraft missiles, and medical equipment.

“We are grateful to the American government and people for their unwavering support. Ukrainian people appreciate your leadership,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence said on X on Thursday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it would “cover Ukraine’s most pressing needs”.

“US leadership in the coalition of over 50 countries providing Ukraine with military aid is critical to countering terror and aggression not only in Ukraine but around the world,” he said.

US President Joe Biden has asked Congress to provide another $61 bn in aid to Ukraine. But Republicans are refusing to approve the package without an agreement by the Democrats to tighten security around the US-Mexico border.

The White House has warned that without the additional appropriation, US aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia will run out by the end of the year.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday the West’s strategic defeat on Moscow had “completely failed”.

Lavrov told Russian state media that the Group of Seven countries intend to discuss the “peace formula” proposed by Zelenskyy, which they agreed on at a “secret summit” held about 10 days ago.

Panama-flagged bulk carrier,
A Panama-flagged bulk carrier in Odesa region [Press service of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters]

Cargo ship hits mine

Meanwhile, a bulk carrier headed to a River Danube port to load grain hit a Russian mine in the Black Sea on Wednesday, injuring two crew members, Ukrainian officials said on Thursday.

“A Panama-flagged civilian vessel was blown up on an enemy sea mine in the Black Sea … The vessel lost its course and control and a fire broke out on the upper deck,” Ukraine’s southern military command said on Telegram.

A captain, sailor and an Egyptian citizen were injured, with the latter taken to hospital in the city of Izmail, the head of the Odesa regional prosecutors office said.

Moscow has ramped up its attack in the Black Sea since leaving the United Nations-brokered grain deal in mid-July, which allowed for the safe passage of Ukrainian grain shipments.

Ukraine has pushed back Russian warships in the western part of the Black Sea to allow some cargo ships in and out along a maritime corridor. But the water remains heavily mined, including by Russian planes, and is particularly dangerous in stormy weather.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies