US announces $2.1bn in military aid to Ukraine

Latest security aid includes funding for Hawk air defence systems, Puma drones and other weapons

A soldier stands in front of a Patriot surface-to-air missile system during a military exercise in Poland. AFP
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The Pentagon announced on Friday that it would provide an additional $2.1 billion in long-term weapons aid to Ukraine.

The new assistance package will include funding for more Patriot missile battery munitions, Hawk air defence systems and missiles, and small Puma drones that can be launched by hand.

The latest infusion of funding, one of the larger packages the US has provided, comes as there are signs that Ukraine is beginning – or about to begin – the much-anticipated counter-offensive to try to take back territory that has been seized by Russia.

Unlike the US equipment, weapons and ammunition that are more frequently sent from Pentagon stocks and delivered quickly, this money would be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and is meant to be spent over the coming months or even years to ensure Kyiv's future security needs.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the package shows America's continued commitment “to both Ukraine’s critical near-term capabilities as well as the enduring capacity of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term”.

The aid also will include munitions for laser-guided rockets, an undisclosed amount of artillery rounds, and funding for training and maintenance support.

A number of officials have acknowledged that the fighting in Ukraine has intensified in recent days, but much of the focus turned early this week to the collapse of the Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River.

The White House and the Pentagon insisted on Thursday they were still working to determine who caused the damage, which set off a scramble to evacuate residents in dozens of flooded areas and get aid to those still there.

Aftermath of flooding in Ukraine's Kherson region

Aftermath of flooding in Ukraine's Kherson region

Although the US has been willing to provide billions of dollars in military weapons and other aid, President Joe Biden's administration has been clear that there will be no US combat forces sent to Ukraine.

In that vein, Brig Gen Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said on Thursday that the military had no plans to directly provide transport or other support to the areas damaged by the dam collapse.

The Biden administration has provided more than $37.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

Updated: June 09, 2023, 4:24 PM