The United States on Tuesday, April 4, unveiled details of $2.6 billion in new military aid for Ukraine's war against invading Russian forces, including ammunition for HIMARS precision rocket systems, artillery rounds and small arms.
"The United States will continue... to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements," the Pentagon said in a statement.
The package also features munitions for Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems, as well as ammunition and anti-tank missiles used by Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles that Washington previously promised to Kyiv.
And it includes 120 mm tank ammunition, which a senior US defense official told journalists "will support Ukraine's newly formed armored tank battalions as well as Abrams tanks that the United States has committed."
The Abrams tanks are expected to be delivered to Ukraine by fall of this year, while other Western heavy tanks -- British Challengers and German Leopards -- have already arrived.
Most of the aid -- $2.1 billion -- comes in the form of Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, which pay for procurement of equipment from the defense industry.
The remaining $500 million is drawn from existing US stocks, meaning it will arrive on the battlefield sooner.
- 'Change the dynamic' -
"The war is at an important stage. Fighting continues in the east, but there have not been significant recent shifts in territorial control. The front lines are relatively static," the senior defense official said.
"Our focus is on supporting the Ukrainians to change the dynamic on the ground. We want to help Ukraine advance and hold its positions in what we expect will be a Ukrainian counteroffensive," the official said, referring to an anticipated spring attack by Kyiv's forces.
The United States has spearheaded the push for international support for Ukraine, quickly forging an international coalition to back Kyiv after Russia invaded in February 2022 and coordinating aid from dozens of countries.
Kyiv has pushed for some items that its international supporters have been reluctant to provide, including Patriot air defense systems and advanced heavy tanks -- which were eventually promised -- and others such as Western fighter aircraft, which have not been pledged so far.
According to the US State Department, the latest package brings total aid to Ukraine since Russia's invasion to more than $35.1 billion.
The massive influx of international security assistance for Ukraine has sparked concerns that the equipment could be misused.
But the Pentagon has repeatedly insisted that monitoring efforts have not turned up evidence of widespread abuses, with one senior official saying the main danger of illicit diversion comes from equipment captured by Russian forces.
In addition to providing military equipment, Ukraine's international backers are also training Kyiv's forces.
The Pentagon said last week that more than 7,000 Ukrainian military personnel had been trained by Washington since February 2022, including 65 who completed training in the United States on the Patriot system.
The senior defense official said Abrams tank training for Ukrainian troops has yet to begin, but added: "I would expect that that will happen relatively soon."
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