The United States will provide Ukraine with a $1.2 billion package to bolster the country’s air defenses and sustain its artillery needs, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said May 9, 2023.
The grant is part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
“This package underscores the continued U.S. commitment to meeting Ukraine’s most urgent requirements by committing critical capabilities — such as air defense systems and munitions — while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term,” Ryder said during a news conference.
The money will procure more 155 mm artillery rounds and provide sustainment support to enable Ukraine to better maintain its on-hand systems and equipment, Ryder said.
Other capabilities include additional air defense systems and munitions equipment to integrate Western air-defense launchers, missiles and radars with Ukraine’s air-defense systems. The Russians have launched waves of missiles into Ukraine, whose military has been adept at knocking them down. The package also contains ammunition to shoot down unmanned aerial systems, commercial, satellite-imagery services and support for training, maintenance and sustainment activities, the general said.
“The United States will continue to work with our allies and our partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements,” he said.
The Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative looks to bolster the medium- and long-range defenses of Ukraine. The presidential drawdown authority allows the United States to send equipment already in military stocks to Ukraine. The initiative allows the Defense Department to let contracts for equipment to be delivered later.
“Today’s announcement … represents, rather, the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional, priority capabilities to Ukraine, which will entail exploring options as how to best support them,” Ryder said. “The USAI gives us the ability to leverage the power and the capabilities of the private sector in order to support Ukraine’s medium- and long-term security assistance needs.”
But equipment by itself is not enough. The United States is one of many nations providing training for Ukrainian forces. U.S. training continues at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany.
“We will be able to maintain that support and that capability to train Ukrainians as long as the demand is there,” Ryder said, adding that providing equipment along with training gives the Ukrainians a capability, as opposed to just having equipment.