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U.S. announces $1.2 billion in security aid for Ukraine

May 31, 2023

The U.S. will provide $1.2 billion more in long-term military aid to Ukraine to further bolster its air defenses as Russia continues to pound Ukraine with drones, rockets and surface-to-air missiles, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

The aid package will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the Department of Defense said in a release. Unlike the U.S. equipment, weapons and ammunition that are more frequently sent to Ukraine from Pentagon stocks — so they can be delivered quickly — this money is to be spent over the coming months or even years to ensure Ukraine's future security needs.

"This USAI package underscores the continued U.S. commitment to meeting Ukraine's most urgent requirements by committing critical near-term capabilities, such as air defense systems and munitions, while also building the capacity of Ukraine's Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term," the release said. "This includes committing additional 155mm artillery rounds and sustainment support to enable Ukraine to better maintain its on-hand systems and equipment."

The assistance initiative will fund HAWK air-defense systems, air-defense munitions and drones for air defense. It will also buy artillery, rockets, satellite imagery assistance, and funding for ongoing maintenance and spare parts for a variety of systems, the Pentagon said.

"The United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements," the DOD said in a statement.

Including this package, the U.S. has provided Ukraine nearly $37 billion in military aid since Russia invaded in February 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday expressed his gratitude to President Joe Biden and the American people for their support.

"We appreciate this sign of solidarity with [Ukraine] shown on a symbolic day for us – Europe Day & the Day of Victory over Nazism in WW2," Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter. "Together we're moving towards a new victory!"

Grateful to @POTUS & 🇺🇸 people for providing 🇺🇦 with a powerful $1.2 billion defense assistance package. We appreciate this sign of solidarity with 🇺🇦 shown on a symbolic day for us – Europe Day & the Day of Victory over Nazism in WW2. Together we're moving towards a new victory!

The decision comes as Ukraine prepares to launch a spring offensive against Russian forces, with air defense a persistent issue.

Ukraine's air defenses shot down 35 Iranian-made drones over Kyiv in Russia's latest nighttime assault, officials said Monday. Wreckage from a drone struck a two-story apartment building in Kyiv's western Svyatoshynskyi district, while other debris struck a car parked nearby, setting it on fire, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram post.

Russian shelling of 127 targets across northern, southern and eastern parts of Ukraine killed three civilians, the Ukrainian defense ministry said.

Facing economic sanctions and limits on its supply chains due to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has routinely turned to Iran's Shahed drones to bolster its firepower. And U.S. aid packages — including more immediate military weapons and support — have included systems to shoot down and otherwise defeat the drones.