US to bolster Ukrainian defences with £330m of ammunition and generators
The United States is taking the equipment from its own stores in order to get military aid to Kyiv more quickly.
The US is sending a further consignment of ammunition and generators worth 400 million dollars (£330 million) to Ukraine, the White House announced on Wednesday.
The US is pulling the gear from its own stockpiles in order to get the support to Kyiv as fast as possible as Russia continues to target Ukraine’s energy sources and winter sets in.
Including the latest aid, the US has committed more than 19 billion dollars (£15.7 billion) in weapons and other equipment to Ukraine since Russia attacked on February 24.
The new package of aid will be provided through presidential drawdown authority, which allows the Pentagon to take weapons from its own stock and quickly ship them to Ukraine.
The latest package includes 200 generators and an undisclosed amount of additional rounds for both the Nasams (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) and Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) weapons that the US has shipped to Ukraine.
It also includes 150 heavy machine guns with thermal sights to shoot down drones, 10,000 120mm mortar rounds and another 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition, among other items, the Pentagon said.
Now in its ninth month, the intense firefight in Ukraine has had both sides firing thousands of rounds of munitions a day, from bullets for small arms to truck-sized cruise missiles.
In a sign of how intense the ground battle has been, the US to date has provided 104 million rounds of small arms ammunition to Ukraine.
“With Russia’s unrelenting and brutal missile and (drone) attacks on Ukrainian critical energy infrastructure, additional air defence capabilities remain an urgent priority,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“The additional munitions for Nasams and heavy machine guns will help Ukraine counter these urgent threats.”
The continued push of weapons to Kyiv, however, is raising questions about how long the US and partner nations can continue to sustain the fight without an impact to military readiness.
Many European nations have already said that they have sent all the excess weaponry they can afford to send.
Last week, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Bill LaPlante, travelled to Brussels to meet with 45 partner nations to discuss some of Ukraine’s top priorities, including more air defence systems and long-range weapons.
They discussed co-ordinating efforts to keep weapons flowing by identifying the capabilities of their individual defence industrial bases as well as the supply chain and production constraints they face, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The flow of weapons comes as the Biden administration seeks to pass an additional 37 billion dollars (£30.6 billion) in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine during the post-election session of Congress, before Republicans take over control of the House in January.
Some Republican members including potential speaker, Kevin McCarthy, have questioned the amount of money being spent on Ukraine.