Washington is about to send another security assistance package to Kiev, which will include anti-drone and air defense systems, Reuters reported, citing sources. The $275 million measure is expected to be officially announced on Friday.
According to officials and documents cited by the news agency, the security aid will also include rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 155mm ammunition, Humvee vehicles, and generators. At the same time, there are no details on the air defense equipment, the report says. In addition to this, the contents and the size of the aid package may change before it is approved by US President Joe Biden.
The new measure is expected to be covered by the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows Washington to dispatch military equipment quickly and without congressional approval.
Supporting Ukraine with air defense systems has become an “absolute priority” for Western countries since Russia began targeting the country’s energy infrastructure, according to the US Department of Defense. The recurring bombardments picked up steam after Moscow accused Kiev of conducting “terrorist attacks” on Russian structures, including the strategic Crimea Bridge.
In early November, the Pentagon announced a $400 million security package for Ukraine, which included ammunition for the HAWK air defense system as well as four Avenger air defense systems and additional Stinger missiles.
The same month, Ukraine received two first National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), with Washington promising to send another six.
Since the start of the conflict, the US has committed more than $19 billion in security assistance to Kiev.
Moscow has repeatedly warned Western countries that providing heavy weapons to Ukraine risks both crossing Russia’s “red lines,” and could lead to their direct involvement in the conflict. Washington and its allies insist they are not a party to the hostilities, but continue sending arms shipments to Kiev.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the strikes on Ukraine’s power infrastructure were intended to degrade Kiev’s ability to transport troops, and Western-supplied weapons and equipment to the battlefield by rail.