02 July 2024

US ‘to provide further £1.8 billion in military aid to Ukraine’

02 July 2024

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin has said the US will soon announce an additional 2.3 billion dollars (£1.8 billion) in security assistance for Ukraine, to include anti-tank weapons, interceptors and munitions for Patriot and other air defence systems.

The announcement came as Ukrainian defence minister Rustem Umerov met Mr Austin at the Pentagon.

And it marks a strong response to pleas from Kyiv for help in battling Russian forces in the Donetsk region.

Of that total, 150 million dollars of the aid will come from presidential drawdown authority (PDA) and the remainder will be provided by Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).

PDA allows the Pentagon to take the weapons from its stocks and send them more quickly to Ukraine; USAI puts weapons on longer-term contracts.

“Make no mistake, Ukraine is not alone, and the United States will never waver in our support,” Mr Austin said as he opened the meeting with Mr Umerov.

“Alongside some 50 allies and partners, we’ll continue to provide critical capabilities that Ukraine needs to push back Russian aggression today and to deter Russian aggression tomorrow.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that Russia had dropped more than 800 powerful glide bombs in Ukraine in the last week alone.

And he urged national leaders to relax restrictions on the use of Western weapons to strike military targets inside Russia.

In particular, he said Ukraine needs the “necessary means to destroy the carriers of these bombs, including Russian combat aircraft, wherever they are”.

Mr Austin did not refer to the restrictions in his opening comments, but he told Mr Umerov that they would discuss “more ways to meet Ukraine’s immediate security needs and to build a future force to ward off more Russian aggression”.

US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin (Virginia Mayo/AP) (AP)

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