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US announces new £1.6bn package of military aid for Ukraine

The latest funding comes amid signs that Ukraine is beginning its much-anticipated counter-offensive.

Patriot missile launcher

The Pentagon has announced it will provide an additional 2.1 billion dollars (£1.6 billion) in long-term weapons aid for Ukraine.

The new assistance package will include funding for more Patriot missile battery munitions, Hawk air defence systems and missiles, and small Puma drones that can be launched by hand.

The latest funding, among the larger packages the US has provided, comes amid signs that Ukraine is beginning — or about to begin — the much-anticipated counter-offensive to try to take back territory seized by Russia.

Hawk air defence system
Hawk air defence system (Alamy/PA)

Unlike the US equipment, weapons and ammunition that are more frequently sent from Pentagon stocks and delivered quickly to Ukraine, this money would be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and is meant to be spent over the coming months or even years to ensure Ukraine’s future security needs.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the package shows America’s continued commitment “to both Ukraine’s critical near-term capabilities as well as the enduring capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term”.

The aid will also include munitions for laser-guided rockets, an undisclosed amount of artillery rounds and funding for training and maintenance support.

A number of administration officials have acknowledged the fighting in Ukraine has intensified in recent days, but much of the focus turned early this week to the collapse of the Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper River.

APTOPIX Russia Ukraine War
The damage on the Kakhovka dam (Planet Labs PBC/AP)

The White House and the Pentagon insisted on Thursday that they were still working to determine who caused the damage, which set off a scramble to evacuate dozens of flooded areas and get aid to those still there.

Although the US has been willing to provide billions of dollars in military weapons and other aid, the Biden administration has been clear that there will be no US combat forces inside Ukraine.

Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said on Thursday that the military had no plans to directly provide transport or other support to the areas damaged by the dam collapse.

The Biden administration has provided more than 37.6 billion dollars (£29.9 billion) in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

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