US announces new $6 billion military aid package for Ukraine

The flags of USA (L) and Ukraine are pictured ahead of the conference on the Ukraine war at the US Ramstein Air Base. Boris Roessler/dpa © DPA International

The US government is providing another $6 billion in military aid to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s invasion, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin said on Friday.

The latest tranche of weapons will include artillery ammunition, anti-drone systems as well as missiles for the US-made Patriot air defence systems, Austin said following a virtual meeting of the Washington-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

The announcement comes after the US Senate approved new aid totalling around $61 billion for Kiev late on Tuesday evening – thus paving the way for new arms deliveries after months of domestic political deadlock in the US, which is Ukraine’s most important backer.

“If Putin prevails in Ukraine, the security consequences would be grave and global,” Austin said. “We will not falter, we will not flinch and we will not fail,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had previously insisted on the delivery of longer-range missiles and air defence systems at the meeting.

The new contracts are to be awarded to American defence companies to build new equipment for Ukraine as part of a US funding programme for Ukraine. This means that it could take several months to years before the weapons are delivered.

Ukraine has faced a serious shortage of ammunition in recent weeks, with Russia overwhelming its air defence systems and making significant gains on the front line.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced a military package totalling $1 billion just hours after the bill was passed.

This primarily involved equipment for air defence, artillery, missile systems and armoured vehicles from the US military’s stocks, which will be used to supply Ukraine immediately.

Source: DPA International