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US to provide an additional USD 450 mln in security assistance to Ukraine

In a statement, the Pentagon said the package would be valued at up to USD 450 million and include four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden’s administration has provided USD 6.1 billion in security assistance to the war-torn country.

As Moscow’s forces advance in Ukraine’s east to capture the Donbas region, Ukraine fears its troops could be encircled in a Russian pincer move. Ukraine said it had received the first tranche of HIMARS earlier on Thursday, and that Kyiv hopes the long-range rocket system can help turn the tide in the months-long battle.

The war has entered a brutal attritional phase, Ukraine said it needed the HIMARS systems to better match the range of Russian rocket systems that are being extensively used to pummel Ukrainian positions in Donbas.

Washington had received assurances from Kyiv that those longer-range weapons would not be used to attack Russian territory, fearing an escalation of the conflict. US officials have said that while HIMARS are important for Ukrainian forces, no single weapon system alone can change the war.

US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby stated that Washington has been closely working with Kyiv to identify the types of weapons that could best fulfil their needs in each support package.

“The reason we do it like this is so we can keep it relevant to what’s happening on the battlefield,” Kirby told reporters at a White House briefing.

The latest package comes after Biden last week announced an infusion of USD 1 billion in weapons for Ukraine that includes anti-ship rocket systems, artillery rockets, howitzers and ammunition.

The Kremlin has warned it will strike targets in Ukraine which they “have not yet been hitting” if the West supplies longer-range missiles to Ukraine for use in high-precision mobile rocket systems.

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