Pentagon To Buy $1.2 Billion In Weapons From Defense Contractors For Ukraine Aid
The Pentagon announced plans Tuesday to buy $1.2 billion in weapons as part of an ongoing program to build up Ukraine’s military over the long term while it continues to provide for immediate battlefield needs.
The weapons, drawn from an authority called the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) allows the Department of Defense (DOD) to buy weapons and military equipment directly from defense companies and partners rather than drawing from existing U.S. stocks, according to a press release. Tuesday’s package includes air defense systems, ammunition and “support to enable Ukraine to better maintain its on-hand systems and equipment.”
“This USAI package underscores the continued U.S. commitment to meeting Ukraine’s most urgent requirements by committing critical near-term capabilities, such as air defense systems and munitions, while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term,” the Pentagon said.
In total, the U.S. has committed more than $36.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February 2022.
Following the announcement, the Pentagon will open bids to contractors for the equipment, according to the release.
The Biden administration announced another $2.6 billion in security assistance for Ukraine in early April, of which $2.1 billion will be used for sourcing new munitions directly from American manufacturers for air defense capabilities, as well as thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition, mortar systems, rockets and anti-tank weapons.
As Ukraine is preparing to launch a counteroffensive aiming to oust the Russian army from occupied regions, the Biden administration is also providing shorter-term security assistance.
The latest package, announced May 3, includes mounds of artillery rounds, howitzers, Carl-Gustaf anti-tank rifles and Hydra-70 rockets, which are unguided or “dumb” rockets fired from helicopters that could help Ukraine weaken entrenched Russian ground positions, Reuters reported. Weapons will be pulled from existing U.S. stocks so they arrive on the front lines in haste, marking the 37th drawdown of Department of Defense (DOD) inventories since August 2021, the Pentagon said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, we see no signs that Russia is preparing to stop its attacks on the Ukrainian people. That’s why we are committed to continuing to help Ukraine protect its people against Russian aggression,” Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the National Security Council, recently told The Wall Street Journal.
Russia fired cruise missiles at Ukraine overnight on Tuesday as it staged a scaled-down May 9 “Victory Day” parade in Moscow, Reuters reported. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv’s air defenses shot down 23 of the 25 missiles launched at the capital city, and that there were no casualties.
Zelenskyy also said Russian forces failed to capture the long-embattled city of Bakhmut by the self-imposed May 9 deadline, according to Reuters.
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