The meeting follows Biden’s signing of a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine put together by the US Congress after months of wrangling Wednesday.

President Joe Biden’s administration announced that $1 billion in artillery, air defenses, and other hardware would soon be heading to Ukrainian front lines.

The influx of weapons could improve Kyiv’s chances of averting a major Russian breakthrough in the east, military analysts say. However, it remains unclear how much pressure Kyiv can apply on Russia after months of rationing artillery due to low stocks.

Additionally, Kyiv faces manpower shortages on the battlefield and questions remain about the strength of its fortifications along the sprawling, 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line.

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The goal, according to the US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity with AFP, is to enable Ukraine so that its forces would be able to “regain the initiative.”

“In terms of what we see in the next several months of operations, Ukrainians will need to rebuild quite a bit to take on board all of these new supplies after having rationed ammunition and other supplies … and ensure that they can defend their positions,” the official said.

“So I would not forecast any large-scale offensive in the near term,” the official said, while expressing optimism that Kyiv would be able to start applying “significantly greater pressure” on Russian forces including in Russian-occupied Crimea.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 27, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 27, 2024

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Moscow has had the battlefield advantage since capturing the long-time bastion town of Avdiivka in the eastern Donbas region in February, and its forces have been slowly advancing using greater numbers of troops and artillery shells.

US officials have stressed the importance of new US aid for Ukraine, even if Ukraine might take time to rebuild momentum.

Biden had pressed lawmakers for six months to approve more funding for Ukraine. Despite initial objections from former President Donald Trump and some Republicans in Congress, the aid package was approved.

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In addition to US aid, the European Union is providing assistance, including a Czech-led initiative that will begin supplying Ukraine with some 300,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells in June. Germany also announced plans in April to supply a US-made Patriot air defense system and air defense missiles.

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