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Home World News Washington Post World News US sends $3.75 billion in military aid to Ukraine, its neighboring countries

US sends $3.75 billion in military aid to Ukraine, its neighboring countries

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WASHINGTON — The US will send $3.75 billion in military weapons and other aid to Ukraine and its neighbors on NATO’s eastern flank, the White House announced Friday, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues.

The latest tranche of aid includes Bradley armored vehicles for Ukraine for the first time. The armored carrier is used to transport troops to battle and is known as a “tank killer” because of the anti-tank missile it can fire.

The largest U.S. aid package to date for Kyiv includes a $2.85 billion withdrawal from Pentagon supplies to be sent directly to Ukraine and $225 million in foreign military funding to build long-term capacity and support modernization of Ukraine’s military, said the White House. It also includes $682 million in foreign military funding for European allies to match military equipment donations to Ukraine.

“The war is at a critical point and we must do everything we can to help the Ukrainians resist Russian aggression,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said when announcing the aid.

The immediate aid for Ukraine includes 50 Bradleys, 500 anti-tank missiles and 250,000 ammunition for the aircraft carriers. The US is also sending 100 M113 armored personnel carriers, 55 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPS, and 138 Humvees, as well as ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and air defense systems and other weapons and thousands of artillery rounds. the Pentagon said.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Bradleys will be extremely useful to Ukraine in the ongoing heavy fighting in largely rural areas of eastern Ukraine.

“It’s strongly tied to the war we’re seeing on the ground right now and what we expect to see over the winter months,” Kirby said.

Critics have complained that the US has been too slow to deliver key weapons like the Bradleys and main battle tanks like the Abrams, saying they could have helped in the fight last year.

At the Pentagon, Laura Cooper, the deputy secretary of defense for Russia and Ukraine, said now is the right time to provide the Bradley. “The Ukrainians have shown growing skill in maintenance and maintenance,” she said.

She added that the US-led training, which begins later this month, will enable troops to operate, maintain and repair the weapons and that supplying tanks, such as the more complex, gas-guzzling, heavily armored M1 Abrams- tank of the Pentagon, would require more maintenance. and other training courses.

The new US package was fleshed out by the White House and the Pentagon when Germany announced it would deliver about 40 Marder armored personnel carriers to Ukraine in the first quarter of this year.

Germany announced its intention to send the Marder APCs after a phone call between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Joe Biden on Thursday.

“These 40 vehicles should be ready as early as the first quarter so that they can be handed over to Ukraine,” Scholz spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin. Germany plans to train Ukrainian troops to use the vehicles, and Hebestreit said experts expect the process to take about eight weeks.

Germany has already provided significant military aid, including howitzers, Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns and an IRIS-T surface-to-air missile system, with three more to follow this year.

Scholz has long been wary of pressure to supply the Marder and other, heavier Western-made vehicles such as tanks, insisting that Germany should not go it alone with such deliveries. Officials noted that other countries had not supplied any. But this week, France, the US and Germany all announced plans to send similar armored vehicles that are short on tanks.

Germany last year pushed for deals whereby Eastern NATO allies would send trusted Soviet-era equipment to Ukraine, with Germany in turn supplying those countries with more modern Western-made equipment.

Hebestreit said talks had been held with the US and others since mid-December about how to support Ukraine in the future. He said the ability to supply Soviet-produced equipment is “slowly coming to an end”, while the situation in Ukraine is changing with massive Russian attacks on infrastructure and fighting that could intensify as the weather warms.

Ukraine and a number of German lawmakers inside and outside Scholz’s governing coalition have also called on Germany to provide Leopard 2 main battle tanks. Proponents of the Leopard delivery were applauded by the move to Marder APCs and vowed to press ahead with the point.

But Hebestreit said main battle tanks were not an issue during Thursday’s talk between Scholz and Biden. He said that Germany will stick to its principles of supporting Ukraine as strongly as possible, while not going it alone with arms deliveries and ensuring that NATO does not become a party to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Germany also said on Thursday it will follow the US in supplying Ukraine with a Patriot air defense missile battery. That was at the request of the US and is also expected in the first quarter, according to Hebestreit.

It is in addition to Patriot systems that Germany has sent or is planning to send to Slovakia and Poland.

Associated Press reporters Seung Min Kim and Aamer Madhani contributed to the reporting.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine



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