US sending Ukraine another $400M in military aid as Russia slams energy grid
The United States will send Ukraine another $400 million in military assistance meant to help the country defend itself against Russia’s “relentless attacks” on its energy infrastructure ahead of winter, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.
The additional arms, munitions, air defense missiles and vehicles, to be pulled from Defense Department inventories, come as Ukraine is dealing with a relentless aerial bombardment, with Russia looking to damage critical infrastructure for major cities.
“With Russia’s unrelenting and brutal missile and UAS [drone] attacks on Ukrainian critical energy infrastructure, additional air defense capabilities remain an urgent priority,” the Pentagon said in a release.
“The additional munitions for NASAMS [National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems] and heavy machine guns will help Ukraine counter these urgent threats.”
Included in the package are additional munitions for NASAMS, 150 heavy machine guns meant to take out Russian drones, ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, High-speed Anti-radiation missiles, 200 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, 150 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, more than 100 light tactical vehicles, more than 200 generators, and rounds of mortar and small arms ammunition.
The extra defenses are crucial as Ukraine looks to ward off missile and drone strikes ahead of winter, with half of the country’s energy infrastructure damaged or destroyed as a result of Russia’s invasion, according to the World Health Organization’s Europe director, Hans Henri P. Kluge.
Because of the battered energy infrastructure, about 10 million people have no access to power and 2 million to 3 million Ukrainians will likely be displaced in the coming months as the weather grows colder, Kluge said earlier this week.
This is the Biden administration’s 26th weapons drawdown since August 2021. The latest tranche also marks a more than $19 billion lethal aid commitment to the former Soviet state since the start of the invasion in February.
“The artillery ammunition, precision fires, air defense missiles, and tactical vehicles that we are providing will best serve Ukraine on the battlefield,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate State Department release.
“We will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, so it can continue to defend itself and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table when the time comes,” Blinken added.
The lethal aid package also comes less than a month after the administration on Nov. 4 announced a similar $400 million military assistance tranche.