US announces $6B additional military aid package for Ukraine

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday announced a military aid package for Ukraine valued up to $6 billion.

"I'm also pleased to announce today an additional commitment of $6 billion through our Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative that will allow us to procure new capabilities for Ukraine from US industry," Austin said at a news conference after a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which was formed after Russia launched the war in February 2022.

"This is the largest security assistance package that we've committed to date," he added.

It will include air defense munitions, counter-drone systems, artillery ammunition, and maintenance and sustainment support, Austin said.

The Pentagon announced a new arms package Wednesday for Ukraine, minutes after Biden signed a $95 billion spending bill into law that funds his top-line national security priorities, including more than $60.8 billion for Ukraine.

The first tranche of assistance is valued at up to $1 billion, and includes RIM-7 and AIM-9M air defense missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, small arms and additional ammunition for them, including .50 caliber rounds to counter drones, according to a statement.

"The announcements this week underscore America’s enduring commitment to Ukraine’s defense," Austin said.

Ukraine is still in the fight and showing "incredible skill, courage and resilience," Austin said, adding over the past two years, the contact group has shown "its unity, its impact and a staying power."

"Ukraine can be successful if it has the right amount of security of systems," Austin said, when asked if Ukraine can win.

Also at the news conference, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. CQ Brown said the key is to make sure Ukraine can defend itself.

"Unchecked aggression leads to more aggression, and so this is why it is so important for us to put Ukraine into place that can defend itself and that we don't have this broaden to a much wider conflict," Brown added.

Source: AA

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