Biden says new $800 million Ukraine package will include helicopters
President Biden announcement on Wednesday that he approved the transfer of helicopters, artillery systems and armored vehicles as part of an $800 million package of additional military aid to Ukraine.
Why is this important: The United States and its European allies are dramatically increasing the scale and scope of their military assistance ahead of a massive Russian offensive in the eastern Donbas region, which officials say will dictate the trajectory of the rest of the war.
- Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday afternoon for just under an hour before publicly announcing the new aid package.
- “The Ukrainian military has used the weapons we provide to devastating effect. As Russia prepares to step up its attack in the Donbass region, the United States will continue to provide Ukraine with the capabilities to defend itself.” , Biden said in a statement.
Details: The $800 million package includes, among other things:
- 11 Mi-17 helicopters originally intended for US-backed Afghan security forces, before the fall of Kabul
- 18 howitzers and 40,000 artillery shells
- 300 Switchblade Drones
- 500 Javelin Missiles
- 200 M113 armored personnel carriers
- 100 high mobility wheeled multipurpose armored vehicles
- 30,000 sets of body armor
- Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protective equipment
The big picture: The new package, which will be funded through the President’s authority to draw on existing U.S. stockpiles, brings total U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to $2.5 billion since the invasion of Russia again.
- The Pentagon released a fact sheet last week detailing the specific weapons the United States has supplied to Ukraine, marking a significant shift from the early weeks of the war when officials were reluctant to discuss any details in detail. military aid.
- The list included 50 million bullets, more than 5,000 Javelin anti-armour systems and more than 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems – key weapons that will also be included in the new aid package.
Between the lines: The United States and its allies no longer attempt to distinguish between “offensive” and “defensive” weapons, as Russian atrocities increase and it becomes clear that the war is likely to become a protracted battle for territory to the East.
- “[W]We have come to a place in the United States, and in many members of the NATO alliance, where the key question is: “What does Ukraine need and how can we provide?’” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday.
- Biden said in his statement Wednesday that the administration would continue to facilitate the transfer of equipment from allies in Europe, such as the S-300 missile system that Slovakia sent to Ukraine last week after receiving a Patriot battery from United States.
What to watch: Zelensky published a detailed list earlier on Wednesday titled “What Ukraine Needs ASAP to Win the War,” with a focus on six categories:
1. Heavy Artillery
- Artillery ammunition: As much as possible
- Artillery guns: At least 100 units + ammunition
- Multiple rocket launch systems: At least 100 units + ammunition
2. Heavy Armor
- Armored vehicles: 600 units
- Tanks: 300 units
3. Air defense systems
- S-300 or BUK or comparable Western systems: at least a few dozen each
4. Attack Aircraft
- Su-24 jets: At least 30 units
- Missiles with a range of more than 30 km: at least 30 units
5. Anti-ship missiles
- Harpoon or RBS 15 anti-ship missile: 300 units
6. Light vehicles
- Pickups and/or trucks: At least 300 units
What they say : “This military support will enable Ukraine to reclaim territory lost since February 24 and bring Russia to the negotiating table – not as a superpower issuing ultimatums, but as a neighbor ready to make real concessions,” Zelensky said in his appeal to allies.
- “However, without additional weapons, this war will become an endless bloodbath, spreading misery, suffering and destruction.”