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US announces $1 billion military aid package for Ukraine

The billion-dollar price tag is much higher than previous packages that have typically totaled around a few hundred million dollars, in part because Congress delayed sending more aid to Ukraine for months after the last American assistance ran out at the end of 2023. That left Ukraine more desperate for aid as ammunition ran out and Russia advanced on the battlefield, putting Ukrainian troops on the defensive.

A key part of the new package is 155mm artillery shells and other mortar and artillery ammunition, along with RIM-7 and AIM-9M air defense ammunition. kyiv has made both a priority: artillery is an important part of covering Ukrainian troops on the ground and air defenses are crucial to defending cities.

Wednesday’s package includes Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor launchers, small arms ammunition such as .50-caliber bullets, and ammunition for high-mobility artillery rocket systems.

And Ukraine will receive Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Humvees and other logistical and tactical vehicles, along with anti-armor mines, demolition material and other spare parts and equipment.

Notably, the package does not include the long-range artillery weapon called the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which can engage targets up to 190 miles away. The Biden administration has provided earlier versions of the ATACMS but not a newer model.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier this week that he called Biden and there was an agreement to provide ATACMS, but he did not provide further details, including when they might be delivered.

After signing into law the $95 billion national security package, of which about $61 billion will go to supporting Ukraine, Biden said it was a “good day for world peace.”

“The Americans are going to send Ukraine the supplies it needs to keep it in the fight,” he said, promising to start sending equipment within hours.

“This package is literally an investment not only in the security of Ukraine but also in the security of Europe, in our own security.”

Zelensky expressed his gratitude after the Senate passed the package Tuesday night, just days after the House. On Wednesday, Zelensky said that “the key now is speed.”

“Every leader who does not waste time is a lifesaver,” he wrote on the social platform X., adding: “Every state that knows how to act quickly safeguards the rules-based world order.”

Even with the new weapons package, Ukraine will face an uphill battle against a larger Russian military, which has taken the lead amid delayed U.S. assistance to force the Ukrainians across the 600-mile eastern front line and advance in the Donetsk region.

But the weapons will help stabilize the front, where Russian forces have taken at least one town and threaten another strategic one in the eastern Donetsk region.

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