US to send $3 billion in aid to Ukraine as war drags on for 6 months – Boston News, Weather, Sports

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Russia’s war against Ukraine drags on, U.S. security assistance is shifting to a longer-term campaign that is likely to keep more American military troops in Europe in the future, including upcoming plans to add around $3 billion in additional aid dollars to train and equip Ukraine’s armed forces to fight for years to come, US officials said.

US officials told The Associated Press the package is expected to be announced on Wednesday, the day the war hits the six-month mark and Ukraine celebrates its Independence Day. The money will fund contracts for up to three types of drones and other weapons, ammunition and equipment that may not be seen on the front lines for a year or two, they said.

The total of the aid package – provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and the largest yet – could change a little overnight, but probably not much. Officials said it will include money for the small, hand-launched Puma drones, the more durable Scan Eagle surveillance drones, which are catapult-launched, and for the first time, the British Vampire drone system, which can be launched from ships.

Several officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the aid ahead of its release.

Unlike most previous packages, the new funds are mainly aimed at helping Ukraine secure its medium to long-term defense position, according to officials familiar with the matter. Previous deliveries, most of which have been made under the President’s Drawdown Authority, have focused on Ukraine’s more immediate needs for arms and ammunition and have included material the Pentagon already has in stock and can be dispatched at short notice.

In addition to providing longer-term assistance that Ukraine can tap into for potential future defense needs, the new package aims to reassure Ukrainian officials that the United States intends to maintain its support regardless of the day-to-day ebb and flow of the conflict, officials said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted the broadened focus on Tuesday as he reaffirmed the alliance’s support for the conflict-torn country.

“Winter is coming and it’s getting tough and what we’re seeing now is a grueling war of attrition. This is a battle of willpower and a battle of logistics. Therefore, we must maintain our support for Ukraine in the long term, so that Ukraine can assert itself as a sovereign, independent nation,” Stoltenberg said at a virtual conference on Crimea organized by Ukraine.

Six months after Russia invaded, the war has slowed to a grind as both sides exchange combat blows and small advances east and south. Both sides have seen thousands of soldiers killed and injured while Russia’s bombing of cities has killed countless innocent civilians.

It is feared that Russia will step up attacks on civilian infrastructure and government facilities in Ukraine in the coming days due to the Independence Day and the six-month anniversary of the invasion.

Late Monday, the US Embassy in Ukraine and the State Department issued a new security alert for Ukraine, repeatedly urging Americans in the country to leave the country because of the danger.

“Given Russia’s track record in Ukraine, we are concerned about the continuing threat Russian attacks pose to civilians and civilian infrastructure,” it said.

Other NATO allies are also celebrating Independence Day with new aid announcements.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his country is providing more than 500 million euros (nearly $500 million) in aid, including powerful anti-aircraft systems. The aid also includes rocket launchers, ammunition, anti-drone equipment, a dozen armored recovery vehicles and three other IRIS-T long-range air defense systems, German news agency dpa reported.

Funding has yet to be approved by Parliament, some of which will not be delivered until next year.

And Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $3.85 million for two projects in Ukraine under the Peace and Stabilization Program. It includes approximately $2.9 million in funding for ongoing development of Ukraine’s national police and other emergency services, and approximately $950,000 for advising Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

To date, the U.S. has provided approximately $10.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including 19 weapons packages taken directly from Department of Defense inventories since August 2021.

US defense leaders are also eyeing plans that expand training for Ukrainian troops outside their country and for militaries on Europe’s eastern and southern flanks who feel most threatened by Russia’s aggression.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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Nate Jones

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