The administration of US President Joe Biden has announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth three billion dollars and nearly 700 million in Foreign Military Financing to European partner countries and allies “to help incentivize and backfill donations of military equipment to Ukraine,” deepening its involvement in the war in defiance of repeated warnings by Russia.
The White House said on Friday the package is expected to include Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored personnel carriers and self-propelled howitzers.
The United States is also planning to provide Ukraine with Bradley armored vehicles, which provide medium- and long-range firepower, with the capability of destroying other military vehicles, including tanks.
The US administration will also be sending artillery systems, armored personnel carriers, surface-to-air missiles and ammunition to Ukraine as part of the $2.85 billion drawdown from the Department of Defense.
The funds also include $225 million in Foreign Military Financing to go towards Ukraine building its “long-term capacity and support modernization,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
This will be used “to cover wartime requirements of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Blinken said, and may also be used to support the sustainment of equipment previously provided to Ukraine.
The new US military funding marks the 29th drawdown of American arms and equipment for Ukraine since August 2021, according to the Washington-based The Hill newspaper.
Another part of the nearly $4 billion package includes $682 million in Foreign Military Financing to European partner countries and allies “to help incentivize and backfill donations of military equipment to Ukraine.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on Friday that Bradley Fighting Vehicles are exactly what his country needs.
Zelensky said the formal announcement showed his visit to Washington last month had produced concrete results.
“For the first time we will receive Bradley armored vehicles – this is exactly what is needed,” Zelensky said. He thanked Biden and the US Congress.
Germany also said it plans to send 40 Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles and a Patriot air-defense to Ukraine as part of a new phase of Western military support for Kiev.
Zelensky also thanked Germany. “So, as of now, there are more air defense systems, more armoured vehicles, western tanks – which is a first – more cannons and shells … and all this means more protection for Ukrainians and all Europeans against any kind of Russian terror,” he said.
The Russian embassy in Berlin on Friday condemned the German government’s move to send armored vehicles and a Patriot missile system to Ukraine to fight Russian troops.
In a statement, the embassy said: “We strongly condemn this decision and see it as another step toward escalating the conflict in Ukraine. Its adoption looks especially cynical on the eve of the Orthodox Christmas holiday, which is highly revered in the Christian world, and also against the backdrop of ceasefire unilaterally announced by the Russian President in this regard.”
Since Russia launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine in late February 24, Western countries have been flooding Ukraine with weapons and ammunition at a rate unprecedented since World War II.
Russia has repeatedly warned that supplying Kiev with more and more weapons will only exacerbate the conflict, which is now in its eleventh month.
Continuously flooding Ukraine with weapons “will only drag the conflict out and make it more painful for the Ukrainian side, but it will not change our goals and the end result,” the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said last year.
Peskov insisted that the US was in reality engaged in the Ukraine conflict. “The US de facto has become deeply involved.”
The Kremlin spokesman’s remarks echoed those of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who also believed that the US is involved in the war.
Washington has “been participating de facto in this war for a long time,” said Lavrov, adding, “This war is being controlled by the Anglo-Saxons.”
Lavrov has also warned the arms suppliers that the shipments of weapons to Ukraine would be legitimate targets for Russian forces.