US Javelin anti-tank missiles to help Ukrainians in Donbas, Pentagon says

US also training small number of Ukrainians in America on how to operate explosive drones

A Ukrainian soldier with an FGM-148 Javelin, an American-made portable anti-tank missile, near Kharkiv on March 23. AFP

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The latest tranche of US military aid for Ukraine is aimed at countering Russia’s intensified offensive in the eastern Donbas region, a Pentagon official said on Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of Russian troops are probably being sent to eastern Ukraine to surround and overwhelm Ukrainian forces there after being forced to retreat from the area around Kyiv, the US said this week.

The US late on Tuesday authorised another $100 million in military aid for Ukraine, bringing the total amount since Russia's invasion on February 24 to more than $1.7 billion, the Pentagon said.

A senior US defence official said much of the extra $100m will be used to address an "urgent need" for Javelin anti-armour missiles that have proven devastating against Russian President Vladimir Putin's tanks.

The missiles will help the Ukrainian military in Donbas "make sure that they're ready for the increased Russian activity there", the official said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday: "They were critical in the defence of Kyiv and other areas, and we want to ensure we continue to get them in the Ukrainians' hands."

The official also said that America is training a very small number of Ukrainian officers inside the US on using Switchblade explosive drones.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Tuesday that the Ukrainians were using Javelin shoulder-fired missiles "to effectively to defend their country".

Updated: April 06, 2022, 8:20 PM