The United States is providing up to $150 million in additional military aid for Ukraine in a package expected as soon as Wednesday, three U.S. military officials tell VOA, a week after Ukraine used its newest weapon from the United States to pummel Russian military targets deep into Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine.
The package includes more GMLRS rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), munitions for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), TOW anti-tank missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and 155 mm rounds, according to two of the officials who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity to discuss the package prior to its announcement.
In the past few days, there has been growing concern over the supply of 155 mm rounds. Both Ukraine and Israel, who are allies of the U.S., require these rounds to combat their respective conflicts – one against Russia’s invasion and the other against Palestinian militant group Hamas. This group has caused significant harm to Israel, killing hundreds and kidnapping dozens of people in a bold terrorist attack on October 7.
The government of Washington has expressed its capability to assist with the military requirements of Tel Aviv and Kyiv.
A senior defense official stated that the U.S. took back 155 mm rounds from its war reserves in Israel earlier this year to replenish stockpiles in Europe. However, after October 7, a significant portion of these rounds were sent back to Israel for use by the Israel Defense Forces.
The Pentagon’s press secretary, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, stated on Monday that both parties share an overlap in the 155 [mm rounds] area. However, this is only a small portion and currently there are no concerns about being able to provide them with both.
Ukraine launched ATACMS at Russian forces last week after the United States secretly provided a small number of the long-range ballistic missiles to Ukraine in recent days. The ATACMS provided to Ukraine have a maximum range of about 170 kilometers (106 miles), nearly twice as far as the other HIMARS artillery rockets in Ukraine’s arsenal and have allowed Ukraine to reach deeper into Russian-controlled territory.
Last week, Ukraine reported destroying nine Russian helicopters, an anti-aircraft launcher, and an ammunition depot in Berdiansk and Luhansk. These attacks are believed to have utilized ATACMS against Russian positions.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that our agreements with President Joe Biden are being accurately implemented and the effectiveness of ATACMS has been proven during the recent attacks.
This Wednesday’s expected package will be the 49th instance of the U.S. utilizing the presidential drawdown power to supply Ukraine’s military with equipment from U.S. reserves.
Since February 2022 when Russia initiated an unprovoked invasion, the United States has given approximately $44 billion in security aid to Ukraine.
The Pentagon currently holds approximately $5 billion in approved funding for Ukrainian military assistance. This comes after the discovery in June that they had overestimated the worth of weapons delivered to Ukraine by around $6 billion.
According to officials who spoke to VOA, the Defense Department made an error when estimating its aid package for Ukraine. They included the cost of replacing weapons instead of the total cost of the systems that were actually sent.
Despite Congress passing a spending bill last month to prevent a government shutdown, the Pentagon is still using its aid resources for Ukraine, despite the exclusion of new aid.
Shortly after the temporary budget was approved, the House voted to remove Kevin McCarthy from his role as House Speaker.
The selection of a new speaker is still pending in the House, and providing additional aid to Ukraine may be dependent on this decision.