The US will today announce a new military aid package for Kyiv, as Ukrainian military officials called for “as much ammunition as possible” to help repel Russian attacks in the east of the country.
The US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday: "Tomorrow, just unilaterally, the US will have another round of assistance for Ukraine" .
What will be included?
Though exact details have yet to be released, Kirby indicated that it will “include mostly ammunition and munitions that Ukrainians will need for the systems that they already have,” most notably HIMARS precision rocket launchers, as well as ammunition for Bradley Fighting Vehicles,
The total value of the package is expected to be $400m and will also include armored vehicle launched bridges which can span bodies of water and rough terrain to be.
Will this meet Ukraine’s current needs?
Emphatically yes. As the heavy fighting around the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine continues and the situation for its Ukrainian defenders becomes ever more “critical”, western powers have promised to speed up deliveries of ammunition and other equipment to enable Kyiv's military to repel new offensives by Russian troops.
In addition to the US package, the EU recently announced increased efforts to supply urgently needed 155-millimeter artillery munitions to Kyiv.
Volodymyr Nazarenko, a deputy commander of the National Guard of Ukraine, told Ukrainian NV Radio on Thursday:
"Fighting is going on in Bakhmut round the clock ... the situation is critical. They [Russian forces] take no account of their losses in trying to take the city by assault. The task of our forces in Bakhmut is to inflict as many losses on the enemy as possible. Every meter of Ukrainian land costs the enemy hundreds of lives."
"We need as much ammunition as possible. There are many more Russians here than we have ammunition to destroy them. The number of enemy soldiers is not what matters; What matters is technology."
And the bigger picture?
This latest announcement of US military aid will coincide with a visit to the White House by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday against background friction between the two largest armaments suppliers to Ukraine.
In an extraordinary admission of the tension between the two nations in this regard, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told broadcaster ABC News on Sunday that Germany had previously said that no Leopard tanks would be sent "until the president also agreed to send Abrams".
Sullivan said that President Biden relented “in the interests of (NATO) alliance unity and to ensure that Ukraine got what it wanted”. Meanwhile the German government has insisted that the two sides took their time to develop a "common approach" to weapons deliveries.
Jorn Fleck, Senior Director of the Europe Center of the Atlantic Council believes that, during their meeting on Friday, the Biden administration will “make clear its dissatisfaction with having been put on the spot by Scholz during the January debate over Leopard-Abrams deliveries”.
Jeffrey Rathke, the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University and a former diplomat expressed the view that “the divisions between the US and Germany can be bridged, but that doing so is possible only at the highest levels”. He went on to say that “therefore, the importance of this meeting between Scholz and Biden is heightened”.