US to Send Ukraine Two Surface-to-Air Missile Systems in Latest Weapons Package
The $820 million assistance package was announced by President Joe Biden
The United States is sending Ukraine two NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems in its latest weapons packages.
The package will include four additional counter-artillery radars and up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition
The $820 million assistance package was announced by President Joe Biden on Thursday following a gathering of NATO leaders that was focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Ukrainians continue to face a brutality highlighted once again this week by an attack that struck a shopping mall filled with civilians," Biden said.
"They continue to fight for their country, and the United States continues to stand by them and their just cause,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement about the assistance.
Ukrainian officials said a Kh-22 missile fired by a Russian bomber hit a crowded shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk on Monday, killing at least 19 people.
Russia said the missile had struck a store of Western-supplied weapons next to the mall, causing it to catch fire.
The Pentagon formalized the announcement and said the latest round of security assistance also included additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
The counter artillery radars being sent are the Raytheon-Technologies AN/TPQ-37 systems, a senior defense official told reporters.
This is the first time these systems are being sent to Ukraine which have about triple the effective range of the previously sent AN/TPQ-36 systems.
The aid is meant to bolster Ukraine as it confronts heavy pounding by Russian artillery.
Russia increased its campaign of long-range missile attacks on Ukrainian cities has come as its forces have ground out success on the battlefield in the east, with a relentless assault to try to force Kyiv to cede two provinces to separatists.
Including the latest rounds of assistance, the United States has now committed approximately $6.9 billion since Russian forces rolled into Ukraine on Feb. 24 and brought full-scale war back to Europe.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow will deploy its newly tested Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) by the end of 2022.
“It is planned that by the end of the year, the first such complex will be on combat duty,” Putin told the graduates, referring to the Russian-developed ICBMs that are capable of carrying 10 or more nuclear warheads and decoys.
Russia successfully tested the missile in April, unnerving some observers at a time of heightened tensions that has again raised the prospect of nuclear confrontation with the West.
The deployment will come as part of a larger build-up of Russia’s military, Putin said, adding that troops have already begun to receive S-500 air defence and missile defence systems “that have no match in the world.”