On the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden announced $2.98 billion in new military aid.
In an Aug. 24 statement, Biden said the latest round of military aid will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, and other equipment. Biden said the latest round of aid “ensure it [Ukraine] can continue to defend itself over the long term.
The aid, and the six-month anniversary, comes as Ukraine celebrates its 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.
“I know this independence day is bittersweet for many Ukrainians as thousands have been killed or wounded, millions have been displaced from their homes, and so many others have fallen victim to Russian atrocities and attacks,” Biden said. “But six months of relentless attacks have only strengthened Ukrainians’ pride in themselves, in their country, and in their thirty-one years of independence.”
The package, provided as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, includes the following capabilities:
- Six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) with additional munitions for NASAMS;
- Up to 245,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition;
- Up to 65,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammunition;
- Up to 24 counter-artillery radars;
- Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems and support equipment for ScanEagle UAS systems;
- VAMPIRE Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems;
- Laser-guided rocket systems;
- Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.
Whereas previous aid packages were aimed at helping Ukraine defend itself against the immediate Russian threat, this package provides for longer-term assistance.
“The United States of America is committed to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue the fight to defend their sovereignty,” Biden said.
The United States has committed more than $13.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since January 2021. In total, the United States has committed more than $15.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014.
On Aug. 23, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made note of the extended focus of aid to Ukraine as he reaffirmed NATO’s support.
“Winter is coming, and it will be hard, and what we see now is a grinding war of attrition. This is a battle of wills, and a battle of logistics. Therefore we must sustain our support for Ukraine for the long term, so that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent nation,” Stoltenberg said, speaking at a virtual conference about Crimea, organized by Ukraine.
Other NATO allies are also using the Ukrainian Independence Day to announce further support and aid.
Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, said Germany is providing more than 500 milloin Euros (nearly $500 million) in aid, including anti-aircraft systems. The aid will include rocket launchers, ammunition, anti-drone equipment, 12 armored recover vehicles, and three additional IRIS-T long-range air defense systems.
The funding must still be approved by the German parliament.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $3.85 million for two projects managed through the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program. About $2.9 million will go for ongoing development of Ukraine’s national police force and other emergency services, and about $950,000 to help advise the Ukraine defense ministry.