US Announces $2.3 Billion Assistance Package to Ukraine: HAWK and HIMARS Missiles

The United States has announced a new $2.3 billion security assistance package for Ukraine, aimed at bolstering its strained air defense systems and providing additional long-range missiles to counter Russian forces

by Sededin Dedovic
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US Announces $2.3 Billion Assistance Package to Ukraine: HAWK and HIMARS Missiles
© Dondi Tawatao / Getty Images

The United States will send Ukraine more ammunition for its strained air defense systems, as well as more long-range missiles to help keep Russian forces at bay, reports Voice of America. The Pentagon officially announced a two-part security assistance package to Ukraine on Wednesday, valued at just over $2.3 billion.

The initial aid includes missiles, rockets, and artillery from U.S. stockpiles worth up to $150 million. Key capabilities include more missiles for Ukraine's HAWK air defense systems and ammunition for its High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

It will also include artillery shells, mortar shells; Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) missiles; and Javelin anti-tank systems. The second part of the package, worth about $2.2 billion, will be used to purchase missiles for Ukraine's Patriot missile defense systems and more National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS).

These systems will need to be assembled and delivered later. The official announcement of the aid package comes a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov at the Pentagon.

"Ukraine is in a tough fight," Austin told Umerov ahead of their meeting. "The Kremlin continues to intensify its bombardment of your cities and civilians." "Make no mistake," Austin added. "Ukraine is not alone, and the United States will never waver in our support."

U.S.</p><p>Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin holds a meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov at the Pentagon on July 02,
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin holds a meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov at the Pentagon on July 02,© Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

The announcement of the new U.S.

aid package comes a week before the U.S. will host a NATO summit where increased military support for Ukraine, facing the Russian invasion, will top the agenda. "The most important outcome at the upcoming NATO summit is precisely what Secretary Austin mentioned, which is hardware: artillery shells, air defense interceptors, other types of weaponry that Ukrainians need to defend themselves," said Charles Kupchan, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

"If the NATO summit is supposed to show anything, it's a continuous flow of assistance and continuous long-term support," Kupchan told Voice of America. "Because the message here is that the Russians cannot outwait Ukraine and cannot outwait the West." At this point, however, Ukrainian defense systems are being pushed to their limits by the relentless Russian assault.

Meanwhile, renewed efforts to mediate an end to the war appear to have stalled. According to Turkish officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and offered to mediate negotiations with Ukraine.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives at Borgo Egnazia on day two of the 50th G7 summit, on June 14, 2024 in Fasano, It
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives at Borgo Egnazia on day two of the 50th G7 summit, on June 14, 2024 in Fasano, It© Antonio Masiello / Getty Images

But the Tass news agency reported late Wednesday that Russia rejected Turkey's overture.

"No, it’s not possible," said Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov to a television interviewer, Tass (pro-Putin media) reported. Putin also discussed Ukraine with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Astana, Kazakhstan, where the two spoke during a Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting.

Russian officials said the two leaders called the idea of any peace negotiations with Ukraine, which sought to exclude Russian involvement, futile. The meeting between Putin and Xi is the second in nearly as many months. The two last met face-to-face in May during Putin's visit to Beijing, reports Voice of America.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization

China and Russia declared a "no-limits" partnership in February 2022 when Putin visited Beijing, just days before he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine. Since then, Xi and Putin have deepened their partnership.

Xi and Putin believe that the post-Cold War era dominated by the U.S. is collapsing, Voice of America reports with reference to Reuters. The United States views China as its biggest competitor and Russia as its greatest national state threat.

U.S. President Joe Biden says this century will be defined by an existential competition between democracies and autocracies. The U.S. sees Xi and Putin as authoritarian rulers who have curtailed freedom of speech and exercised strict control over the media and courts at home.

Biden has called Xi a "dictator" and said Putin is a "killer" and "crazy KS." Beijing and Moscow have rebuked Biden for his comments.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin© Pool / Getty Images

The SCO traces its history back to 1996 when its predecessor was founded as a way to coordinate efforts against external threats such as drug trafficking and has traditionally focused on combating any internal instability.

Belarus will attend the summit for the first time as a full-fledged member of the organization, the Kremlin said. Other countries are participating in talks with the group, including Bahrain, Cambodia, Egypt, Kuwait, Myanmar, Nepal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is also expected to be in Astana for the summit. At last year's virtual summit, the group issued a statement critical of what it called the negative impact of the "unilateral and unrestricted expansion of global missile defense systems by certain countries or groups of countries," without directly mentioning NATO expansion and Western military aid to Ukraine.

Source: Voice of America, Reuters, AFP

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