A Ukrainian soldier runs to a trench as a Russian jet fighter flies over on March 19, 2022. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP.
As Ukraine launched a massive counteroffensive to reclaim Kharkiv, the Department of Defense announced a $675 million aid package, the Pentagon’s 20th round of arms sent to Ukraine since August 2021.
All the announced arms are either more units of previously sent systems or additional ammunition for weapons already in Ukraine, suggesting that US and Ukrainian officials have refined the recurring lists down to key components.
The announcement comes as Ukrainian counteroffensives continue to reclaim ground from Russian forces in southern and eastern Ukraine. Following last week’s counterattack in the southern Kherson region, Ukrainian troops have also rapidly advanced in the eastern Kharkiv region over the past two days and retaken some 20 settlements, including the city of Balakliya, which was under Russian occupation for six months.
Ukrainian officials have credited previous US weapons shipments — in particular the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and heavy artillery — with blunting Russian attacks and setting the stage for the current offensive.
A live-fire demonstration using multiple HIMARS systems during Exercise Talisman Sabre in 2019. US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the package at Ramstein Air Base in Germany during a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a US-led group that brings together almost 40 Western nations to coordinate arms shipments to Ukraine. The group met with Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister.
The package includes new ammo for the HIMARs system, known as Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, or GMLRS. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who was also at the Ramstein meeting, said that previous rounds of GMLRS had had a “devastating effect” against Russian forces.
“We are seeing real and measurable gains from Ukraine in the use of these systems,” Milley said. “The Ukrainians have struck over 400 targets with the HIMARS.”
A member of the Ukrainian military walks past the remains of a downed Russian helicopter in March near Malaya Rohan, Ukraine. Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images.
Austin said that as the US reduces its military inventory to send to Ukraine, it will need to “accelerate” production of key capabilities. “That means reinvigorating our defense industrial bases to match both Ukraine’s priorities and our own needs,” Austin said.
The new aid package includes:
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Tom Wyatt was a SkillBridge intern for Coffee or Die. He is an active-duty Naval Special Warfare boat operator and a proud father living in San Diego, California. Tom is a budding reporter, looking to pursue journalism and fiction writing upon exiting the Navy.
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