The United States is giving Ukraine $ 800 million more in military aid, heavy weapons add

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced an additional $ 800 million in military aid to Ukraine, extending the scope of the systems provided to include heavy artillery ahead of a broader Russian attack expected in the east Ukraine. Read more

The package, which brings the total military aid since the Russian forces’ invasion in February to more than $ 2.5 billion, includes artillery systems, artillery rounds, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats, Biden said in a statement following a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Biden said he had also approved the transfer of additional helicopters, saying equipment delivered to Ukraine “has been critical” as it confronts the invasion.

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“We can not rest now. As I assured President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their struggle for freedom,” Biden said in a written statement.

The new package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters that had been earmarked for Afghanistan before the US-backed government collapsed last year. It also includes 18,155 mm howitzers, along with 40,000 artillery rounds, counter-artillery radars, 200 armored personnel carriers and 300 additional “Switchblade” drones.

It was the first time the United States has supplied howitzers to Ukraine.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some of the systems, such as howitzers and radars, would require additional training for Ukrainian forces unaccustomed to using U.S. military equipment.

“We’re aware of the clock and we know time is not our friend,” Kirby said when asked about the delivery speed.

‘BIGGER, MORE POWERFUL WEAPONS’

US President Joe Biden discusses US response to Russian invasion of Ukraine and warns CEOs of potential cyberattacks from Russia at Business Roundtable’s CEO Quarterly Meeting in Washington, DC, USA, March 21, 2022. REUTERS / Leah Millis

The new assistance – first reported by Reuters on Tuesday – will be funded by the Presidential Drawdown Authority, or PDA, where the president can approve the transfer of articles and services from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency. Read more

John Spencer, a retired U.S. Army major and expert on urban warfare at the Madison Policy Forum, said he was excited to see the U.S. send artillery and artillery rounds.

“You need these bigger, more powerful weapons … to match what Russia is bringing to try to take eastern Ukraine,” Spencer said.

When the news of the latest security aid came out, leaders from top US arms manufacturers met with Pentagon officials to discuss the industrial challenges in the event of a protracted Ukraine conflict.

These included executives from BAE Systems Plc (BAES.L), General Dynamics Corp (GD.N), Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII.N), L3Harris Technologies (LHX.N), Boeing Co . (BA.N), Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N) and Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N).

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said the discussion “primarily focused on accelerating production and building more capacity across the industrial base for weapons and equipment that can be exported quickly, deployed with minimal training and proven to be effective at battlefield. “

Zelenskiy has pleaded with US and European leaders to provide heavier weapons and equipment. Thousands have been killed and millions displaced during the seven-week invasion.

Russia has not been able to achieve most of its military goals, as Ukrainians have offered tougher resistance than expected.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and capture what it sees as dangerous nationalists, but Ukraine and the West say Russia began an unprovoked war of aggression.

On Wednesday, Russia said it had taken control of the southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol and that more than 1,000 Ukrainian Marines had surrendered.

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Idrees Ali and Mike Stone; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Doina Chiacu and Temis Tormo; Edited by Mary Milliken, Will Dunham, Grant McCool and Cynthia Osterman

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