US to provide Ukraine with $1.2bn in long-term security aid

Aid package will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative

The Pentagon said it would fund air-defence munitions and drones for air defence. AP
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The US will provide $1.2 billion more in long-term military aid to Ukraine to further bolster its air defences as Russia continues to pound the country with drones, rockets and surface-to-air missiles, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The aid package will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Unlike US equipment, weapons and ammunition sent from Pentagon stocks that can be delivered to Ukraine quickly, this money is to be spent over the coming months or even years to ensure Kyiv's future security needs.

The Pentagon said it would fund air-defence munitions and drones for air defence, and provide equipment to help modify western air-defence launchers, missiles and radars so they can be used with Ukraine's systems.

It will also buy artillery rounds, howitzer ammunition, satellite imagery assistance and funding for ongoing maintenance and spare parts for a variety of systems.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because parts of the deal have not yet been formally announced, said the weapons would include Hawk air-defence systems.

The Pentagon said the aid would build the capacity of Ukraine's military “to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term”.

Including this package, the US has provided Ukraine with nearly $37 billion in military aid since Russia invaded in February last year.

The latest aid comes as Ukraine prepares to launch a spring offensive against Russian forces, with air defence a persistent issue.

Ukraine's air defences shot down 35 Iranian-made drones over Kyiv in Russia’s latest night-time assault, officials said on Monday.

Wreckage from a drone struck a two-storey apartment building in the capital's western Svyatoshynskyi district, while other debris struck a car parked nearby, setting it on fire, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram post.

Russian shelling of 127 targets across northern, southern and eastern parts of Ukraine killed three civilians, the Ukrainian defence ministry said.

Facing economic sanctions and limits on its supply chains due to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has routinely turned to Iran’s Shahed drones to bolster its firepower.

And US aid packages — including more immediate military weapons and support — have included systems to shoot down and otherwise defeat the drones.

Updated: May 09, 2023, 10:26 PM