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US finalizes $6bn Ukraine military package – Politico

Much of the equipment won’t be ready for years, however

The Pentagon is preparing to announce a batch of weapons and ammunition for Kiev worth up to $6 billion as early as Friday, anonymous officials have told Politico.

Among the items featured in the package is ammunition for Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems, artillery shells and HIMARS rockets, air-to-air missiles, drones and counter-drone weapons, the sources said.

Washington has already rushed $1 billion worth of ammunition drawn down from US military stocks, as soon as President Joe Biden signed the bill providing for $61 billion in aid to the Ukrainian government.

The pending $6 billion batch won’t come out of the Pentagon’s stockpile, however, as it is funded through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). The program has the Pentagon issue contracts to US military industry to build new equipment for Kiev. This means the goods “likely won’t arrive in Ukraine for several years,” Politico noted.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba speaks to the media before a United Nations (UN) Security Council meeting on Ukraine on July 17, 2023 in New York City.
Ukrainian foreign minister agrees with Kremlin

The $61 billion aid package was approved earlier this week after months of languishing in Congress. The Republicans, who held it up in the House of Representatives, signed off on it without getting anything in return from the ruling Democrats.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has blamed the suspension of American aid for the series of battlefield setbacks that his army has experienced since last year. Most Western media outlets have predicted a turnaround in Ukrainian fortunes now that the new US funding has been approved.

An analysis published by the Economist on Thursday went so far as to suggest that the bill may have prevented a Russian offensive this summer, which Moscow “might have hoped” to use to “force a Ukrainian surrender on humiliating terms.”

READ MORE: Pentagon details shipment of military supplies to Ukraine

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has shrugged off the new US aid bill as unable to change the battlefield dynamics, which are firmly in Russia’s favor. According to President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the only thing the new US funding will do is get more Ukrainians killed.

April 26, 2024 at 05:03AM

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