The United States Announces a New $3.75 Billion Aid Package for Ukraine and Its Neighbours
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, the White House has announced a new $3.75 billion military aid package to help Ukraine and its neighbours on Nato’s eastern flank.
Ukraine will get Bradley armoured vehicles for the first time as part of the most recent aid package. The armoured carrier takes troops to battle and has been called a “tank-killer” because it can fire missiles that can destroy tanks.
The White House says that the biggest US aid package for Kyiv to date includes a $2.85 billion drawdown from Pentagon stocks that will be sent directly to Ukraine and a $225 million loan from a foreign military to help Ukraine build long-term capabilities and modernise its military.
It also includes $682 million in foreign military financing for European allies to help make up for the military equipment they gave to Ukraine.
“The war has reached a critical point, and we must do everything we can to help the Ukrainians fight back against Russian aggression,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said when she announced the help.
As direct help, Ukraine will get 50 Bradley aircraft, 500 anti-tank missiles, and 250,000 rounds of ammunition for the carriers. US officials say that the US is also sending 100 M113 armoured personnel carriers, 55 Mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRaps), and 138 Humvees, as well as ammunition for high mobility artillery rocket systems, air defence systems, and other weapons.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, says that the Bradleys will help Ukraine a lot in the heavy fighting that is still going on in eastern Ukraine, which is mostly rural.
Kirby said, “It has a lot to do with the war on the ground right now and what we expect to see over the winter.” Germany said it would send about 40 Marder armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine in the first quarter of this year. The White House talked about the new US plan.
After Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Joe Biden talked on the phone Thursday, Germany said it would send the Marder APCs.
Steffen Hebestreit, Scholz’s spokesman in Berlin, told reporters that these 40 vehicles should be ready to be sent to Ukraine by the end of the first quarter. Hebestreit thinks that it will take about eight weeks to teach Ukrainian forces how to use the vehicles.
Germany has already given a lot of military help, like howitzers, Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, and an Iris-T surface-to-air missile system. This year, Germany will send three more of these kinds of weapons.
Scholz has always been wary of pressure to send the Marder and other, heavier vehicles made in the West, like tanks. He says that Germany won’t send these things on its own.
Officials said that none had come from other countries. But France, the United States, and Germany all said this week that they were going to send armoured vehicles that are similar to tanks but not tanks.
Last year, Germany pushed for deals in which eastern NATO allies would send Ukraine familiar equipment from the Soviet era in exchange for Germany sending those countries more modern equipment made in the West.
Hebestreit said that talks with the US and others about how to help Ukraine have been going on since mid-December. He said that the chance of supplying Soviet-made equipment is “slowly fading,” that the situation in Ukraine is changing because of massive Russian attacks on infrastructure, and that fighting could get worse as the weather warms up.
Ukraine and a number of German lawmakers inside and outside of Scholz’s ruling coalition have asked Germany to send Leopard 2 battle tanks. The move on the Marder APCs was welcomed by people who want the Leopard to be delivered, and they promised to keep pushing the issue.
But Hebestreit said that battle tanks were not talked about during the call between Scholz and Biden on Thursday. He said that Germany will keep helping Ukraine as much as possible, but that it won’t buy weapons on its own and will make sure that NATO doesn’t join Russia’s war in Ukraine.
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