US to send four more long-range rocket launchers to Ukraine under new aid package
Besides rocket launchers, the aid package also includes weapons and equipment such as ammunition, tactical vehicles, machine guns and patrol boats.
National Security Council coordinator John Kirby said at Thursday’s White House press conference that the new assistance program would bring total U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to approximately $6.1 billion since Feb. 24.
“The United States will continue to bolster Ukraine’s defenses and support its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Kirby said. “The bravery and determination of the Ukrainian armed forces, not to mention their fellow citizens, continue to inspire the world, and we are committed to supporting them in their fight for their freedom.
The news comes days after POLITICO first reported that officials for the next Pentagon aid tranche were leaning towards sending four units of the HIMARS mobile rocket launcher.
The first four US-approved units arrived in Ukraine this week, along with medium-range rockets that can hit targets up to 80 km away, Ukrainian officials said. The UK is also sending three units of a similar weapon, the American-made M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, with a range of 50 miles. Germany will also transfer three M270s to Kyiv.
The first group of about 60 Ukrainians trained on the HIMARS are now ready to use them, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week.
The Associated Press first reported that the White House was preparing to announce a new $450 million military assistance package for Ukraine and that it would include HIMARS, but did not say how many. units that the slice would include.