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US to send $450M security aid to Ukraine including advanced rocket systems

Search and rescue workers and local residents remove a body from under the rubble of a building after a Russian air raid in Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine, Thursday, June 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The Biden administration on Thursday announced plans to send a $450 million shipment of military assistance to Ukraine to fight the Russians, including four additional advanced rocket systems.  

John Kirby, who serves as National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, announced the new aid package from the White House podium Thursday afternoon, saying it would bring the total U.S. security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February to $6.1 billion.  

“The United States will continue to bolster Ukraine’s defenses and support its sovereignty and its territorial integrity,” Kirby told reporters.  

“The bravery and determination of the Ukrainian armed forces, let alone their fellow citizens, continues to inspire the world and we are committed to standing with them as they fight for their freedom,” he said.  

Acting Pentagon press secretary Todd Breasseale said in a statement that the new package includes four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. The U.S. already sent four of the advanced rocket systems to Ukraine earlier this month, which Ukraine said earlier Thursday had arrived in the country. 

Breasseale said that package also includes 18 patrol boats, 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition, 18 tactical vehicles to tow artillery, 1,200 grenade launchers and 2,000 machine guns.  

The announcement of the assistance came days before President Biden is set to depart for an overseas trip to participate in a Group of Seven meeting in Germany and a NATO summit in Spain. Both meetings are expected to focus heavily on Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.  

Kirby said Thursday that the latest assistance package is the 13th U.S. military drawdown since the start of the large-scale Russian invasion on Feb. 24. The U.S. has also provided economic and humanitarian assistance to address the ripple effects of the war. 

The Ukrainians have been pleading for more heavy weaponry in order to fight the Russians as they have focused their attacks on Ukraine’s east.  

Ellen Mitchell contributed.

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