The United States will provide an additional $450 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including more long-range rocket systems, U.S. officials said Thursday.
In a statement, the Pentagon said the package would be valued at $450 million and would include four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 18 coastal and river patrol boats and thousands of rounds.
John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said Washington was working closely with Kyiv to identify the types of weapons that could best meet their needs in each package.
“The reason we do it like this is to keep it relevant to what’s happening on the battlefield,” Kirby told reporters during a White House briefing.
Earlier Thursday, Ukraine announced it had received the first tranche of HIMARS, a powerful long-range weapons system that Kyiv hopes can help turn the tide in the months-long battle.
The latest package comes after Biden last week announced a $1 billion arms injection for Ukraine, including anti-ship rocket systems, artillery rockets, howitzers and ammunition.
The war has entered a phase of brutal attrition in recent weeks, with Russian forces concentrating overwhelming artillery firepower on Donbass, which Moscow claims on behalf of the separatists.
Ukraine says it needs the HIMARS systems to better match the range of Russian rocket systems it says are widely used to strike Ukrainian positions in the Donbass.
Washington said it received assurances from Kyiv that these longer-range weapons would not be used to attack Russian territory, fearing an escalation of the conflict.
US officials have said that while HIMARS are important to Ukrainian forces, no weapon system alone can change the war.
Moscow has warned it will hit targets in Ukraine they “have yet to hit” if the West provides longer-range missiles to Ukraine for use in high-precision mobile rocket systems.
First post: STI