The United States announced a major military aid package for Ukraine on Friday, worth more than $3 billion and including 50 Bradleys and dozens of other armored vehicles. The aid $2.85 billion drawn from U.S. stockpiles and $225 million in foreign military funding does not include the advanced Western tanks that Kyiv is seeking, but will still provide significant additional firepower to its forces.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper says “the largest package of security assistance in total value that we have pledged to date, Bradley vehicles will further enhance Ukraine’s ability to perform complex maneuvers in almost all weather conditions and terrain, particularly in the south and east of the country”.
The main items in the pack are the Bradleys, which come with 500 TOW anti-tank missiles and 250,000 rounds for their 25mm autocannons.
Cooper says “The package also includes 100 M113 armored vehicles and 55 MRAP armored vehicles, 18 155mm self-propelled howitzers, as well as artillery ammunition, mortar shells, anti-aircraft missiles and various small arms. The self-propelled howitzers “will provide more protection and maneuverability” than previously provided artillery pieces that must be towed by vehicles”.
Zelenskyy welcomes American assistance
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the new package as “timely and strong”. Total US military aid since the Russian invasion in February 2022 thus amounts to more than $24.2 billion.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy says “For the first time, we will get Bradley armored vehicles – that’s exactly what we need. New guns and projectiles, including high-precision ones,” in his evening speech.
Washington and Berlin announced the day before that they would provide armored vehicles – Bradleys from the United States and Marders from Germany – but gave no details.
Berlin said on Friday “it would send about 40 Marder vehicles to Ukraine within weeks and that training on them would be provided in Germany”.
Ukraine has long pushed for heavier weapons, including tanks, to aid its operations. Western nations have been reluctant to send them, citing fears of further involvement in the war or provoking Russia. But the Ukrainians have built momentum, and Western states are increasing the weapons they send them.
The US-German announcement of the armored vehicles came after France promised to supply its AMX-10 RC light tanks, which are wheeled rather than tracked but have a much heavier tank-typical cannon. The French move has put Germany under new political pressure to do more to help Ukraine.
Germany also said it would follow the United States in sending a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, meaning Kyiv’s forces are set to receive two of the advanced air defense systems.
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