US announces additional $400m weapons package for Ukraine

This is the first time Washington has provided Kyiv with the Avenger air defence system

Pallets of 155mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine are seen at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. AP
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The US will send an additional weapons package to Ukraine worth $400 million that includes a new type of air defence system and missiles, the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

The latest shipment comes as Russia conducts a relentless bombardment of civilian infrastructure designed to weaken Ukraine's resolve and its ability to withstand the coming winter.

Since the Russian invasion on February 24, the US has sent more than $18.6 billion in security aid to Kyiv and President Joe Biden's administration has pledged to send additional materiel for as long as it is needed.

The security package announced on Thursday includes additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars).

Washington is also for the first time sending Avenger air defence systems, which come equipped with Stinger missiles.

“This increased air defence will be critical for Ukraine as Russia continues to use cruise missiles and Iranian-made drones to attack critical civilian infrastructure,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told White reporters.

The US Army Avenger Air Defence System. Reuters

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said the new capability reflects changes on the ground and was the result of requests from Kyiv.

“This is an air defence system that's going to complement the other air defence systems that not just the US has provided, but other countries as well,” Ms Singh told reporters.

The package also includes missiles for the Hawk air defence system.

The announcement comes after Russia said it had begun withdrawing troops from the strategic Ukrainian city of Kherson, in what could prove to be a turning point in the war.

A Ukrainian official said that Russian landmines there could render Kherson a “city of death”.

Updated: November 10, 2022, 9:00 PM