Another $800 Million in U.S. Weapons Heads to Ukraine's Front Lines

Another $800 Million in U.S. Weapons Heads to Ukraine's Front Lines

The Pentagon acknowledged that Ukrainian forces would require additional training to use some of the new systems in the package. 

President Joe Biden vowed on Wednesday that the United States would provide an additional $800 million in emergency military assistance to Ukraine as Russian forces prepare for an offensive in the country’s eastern Donbass region.

In a statement, Biden claimed that the aid package would “contain many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine.” The statement listed artillery guns, ammunition, and armored personnel carriers as key items in the package, and Biden also unexpectedly approved the delivery of additional helicopters to Ukraine.

“In addition, we continue to facilitate the transfer of significant capabilities from our Allies and partners around the world,” the White House statement read.

“The steady supply of weapons the United States and its Allies and partners have provided to Ukraine has been critical in sustaining its fight against the Russian invasion,” it continued. “It has helped ensure that Putin failed in his initial war aims to conquer and control Ukraine. We cannot rest now. As I assured President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom.”

The approval of the new aid package brings total U.S. aid to Ukraine up to $2.4 billion since the onset of Russia’s invasion on February 24. As Russia has changed its military strategy, Ukraine’s requests for military aid have also shifted, with Kyiv now favoring heavier equipment like tanks, armored personnel carriers, and aircraft over anti-tank missiles.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby acknowledged on Wednesday that some of the U.S. systems intended to be delivered to Kyiv would “probably require some additional training for Ukrainian forces,” including American-made howitzers and counter-artillery radar. Kirby stressed that neither of the two was “a very difficult system to operate, but it’s not one that they have in their inventory.”

The new aid package comes days after Russian forces bombed a train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, killing at least fifty Ukrainian civilians. Although Russia has attempted to deflect blame for the incident, Western officials have called for renewed pressure against Russia and support for Ukraine. It also led Biden to describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a “genocide” on Tuesday, a remark that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov quickly denounced as “unacceptable.”

Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for the National Interest.

Image: Reuters.