US announces largest-ever Ukraine support package
Ukraine will receive additional military support — including ammunition for urgently needed artillery systems — from the US to aid its resistance against the ongoing Russian invasion.
The DoD announced on 15 June that it is providing ‘spare parts’ and the following equipment: 18 howitzers in 155mm calibre with 18 vehicles to tow them and 36,000 rounds of ammunition; four armoured recovery vehicles; and additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
In addition, two Harpoon coastal defence systems and ‘thousands’ of secure radios and night-vision devices, thermal sights, and other optics will be shipped to Ukraine.
The latest $1 billion military aid package for Ukraine is the largest from the US since the Russian invasion began on 24 February, the DoD claimed, adding that the US has committed about $5.6 billion in military assistance to Ukraine ‘since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked invasion’.
Support for HIMARS and extra 155mm howitzers is especially significant as Ukraine urgently needs more equipment to address an artillery imbalance against Russian forces pressing in the Donbas region.
Gen Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said that Ukrainian artillery specialists have completed training on HIMARS and will be able to use the system in the field ‘in a matter of weeks’.
More artillery systems are on the way from Canada, Poland and the Netherlands following the latest meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base, Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov stated on 15 June.
On the same day, UK defence secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that Harpoon anti-ship missiles will be donated to Ukraine. These missiles will potentially be fired from land-based launchers already provided by Denmark and the Netherlands.
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