US announces $270mn in military aid to Ukraine after Russia destroys HIMARS
Iran Press TV
Friday, 22 July 2022 10:17 PM
The United States has vowed to supply Ukraine with more high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) after Russia claimed to have destroyed at least four of them amid the simmering war that will enter its sixth month this week.
The White House on Friday announced that the US is sending an additional $270 million in military aid to Ukraine, which includes additional medium-range rocket systems and tactical drones.
The new package includes four HIMARS and up to 580 Phoenix Ghost drones, according to John Kirby, White House national security council spokesman.
"The president has been clear that we're going to continue to support the government of Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes," Kirby said.
The latest package also includes some 36,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and additional ammunition for the HIMARS.
It will take the volume of the overall US military assistance to Ukraine under President Joe Biden's administration to $8.2 billion, which is being paid for through $40 billion in economic and security aid for Ukraine approved by the US Congress in May.
The package also takes the total number of rocket launchers that Washington has supplied Ukraine with since Russia launched its military operation in the former Soviet republic in late February to 16.
The HIMARS is a mobile rocket launcher that can strike targets from 40 to over 300 miles away, depending on the type of rocket it is outfitted with. The rockets that the US administration has decided to send to Ukraine are on the shorter end and can reach up to 48 miles.
Earlier on Friday, Russia's defense ministry said its forces destroyed four of the weapon systems earlier this month.
Between July 5 and 20, four launchers and one reloading vehicle for the US-made multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS) were destroyed near the settlement of Malotaranovka in the Donetsk region, and another HIMARS and a transport-loading vehicle in Krasnoarmiisk said ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
He added that a fourth launcher was destroyed on the eastern outskirts of Konstantinovka in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), according to government military media outlet Zvezda.
The announcement came amid efforts by the US and Ukraine to portray the rocket launchers as "a potential game changer" in the conflict.
Meanwhile, Washington is also exploring whether it can send US-made fighter jets to Ukraine, Kirby told reporters on Friday.
While the Biden administration was conducting preliminary explorations on the feasibility of potentially supplying the jets to Ukraine, that decision would not be made immediately, he said.
"It's not something that would be executed in the short term," Kirby said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24 to demilitarize and "de-Nazify" the ex-Soviet country and to "liberate" Donbas, composed of two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Two days before the war, Moscow had officially recognized the two regions as independent republics. Luhansk has already fallen under the full control of Russian forces.
Over the last five months, the United States and its European allies have supplied billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Ukraine and imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow, despite Russia's repeated warning that the arms influx and coercive economic measures will only prolong the war.
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