Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Joe Biden set to reveal another $800m military aid package to Ukraine

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UK, Canada and the Netherlands have also pledged to provide Kyiv with more hardware as Russia intensifies its effort to take the east of the country and seven US military planeloads head to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden is expected to reveal a new weapons package for Ukraine that is understood to include additional artillery and ammunition.

According to reports, Mr Biden is understood to be planning to send around $800m (£613m) of ammunition to the war-torn country, on top of the $800m package of weapons he revealed last week.

Asked by White House reporters if he planned to send more weapons to Ukraine, the President said: “Yes”.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr Biden discussed “providing more ammunition and security assistance to Ukraine” during a video conference with allies on Tuesday.

Seven US military flights are believed to be flying to Ukraine on Thursday as part of the previously announced aid package, which includes counter-artillery radars, long-range canons, and Mi-17 helicopters. The US has handed Ukraine $2.6bn in military aid since the beginning of the war.

Canada and the Netherlands have also agreed to send more heavy weapons to Ukraine, but Germany, which continues to pay Russia around €1bn a day for energy supplies, said Berlin had chosen not to reveal full details about the weapons that it had sent to Ukraine on order to ensure the rapid delivery of its aid.

Speaking after a meeting with her Latvian counterpart in Riga, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said: “We have delivered anti-tank missiles, Stingers and other things that we have never spoken about publicly so these deliveries could happen quickly”.

Ms Baerbock added that her country would help Ukrainian forces maintain the advanced weapons systems it has received from Germany and its allies as well as training soldiers to use them.

Ukraine has been urging its allies to provide additional military support after Russian forces launched a new offensive in the Donbas region.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will provide more weapons to Ukraine as the conflict with Russia moves into its new phase.

On Tuesday, Mr Johnson told the House of Commons: “This will become an artillery conflict, they need support with more artillery, that is what we will be giving them.”

The UK, which has provided £450m in aid to Ukraine, initially supplied Kyiv with 4,000 Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons as well as shoulder-held anti-tank Javelin missiles as Vladimir Putin began his invasion. Another batch of 6,000 missiles, consisting of anti-tank and high explosive weapons, as well as £25 million in financial backing for the Ukrainian military, was announced in March.

The UK Government has also supplied Starstreak high-velocity anti-air missiles, used to shoot down Russian jets and helicopters, as well as body armour, helmets and combat boots.

Under Operation Orbital, British troops have trained the Ukrainian Armed Forces after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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