US bolsters Ukraine's air defense capabilities with additional Patriot - Avenger - Stinger missiles

The U.S. Defense Department on May 31 announced an additional security assistance package for Ukraine that contains key capabilities to arm against Russian airstrikes targeting critical infrastructure across the country. The latest package, valued at up to $300 million, marks the 39th drawdown of DOD equipment for Ukraine since August 2021. Joseph Clark, U.S. DoD, reports. included in the package are additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems, Avenger air defense systems, Stinger antiaircraft systems and AIM-7 missiles for air defense. The package also includes more artillery and antiarmor capabilities, in addition to precision aerial munitions and other items.
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The new security aid package intended for Ukraine includes Avenger air defense systems (Picture source: U.S. DoD/René Rosas)

The newly announced assistance comes on the heels of Russia's recent drone attacks aimed at Ukraine's civilian infrastructure far from the front lines. "Russia has continued to wage a brutal, completely unprovoked war against Ukraine, launching yet more airstrikes and bombarding Ukrainian cities across the country," said National Security Council spokesman John F. Kirby during a briefing at the White House.

Russia's recent onslaught included 17 separate air assaults targeting Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, in May alone. Those attacks harmed civilians and hit critical civilian infrastructure, Kirby said. "In response, the United States is going to continue to help give them things that they need to better defend themselves," he said.

The Biden administration has committed more than $37.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia's invasion in February 2022. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III underscored the urgent need to help Ukraine defend its skies during last week's meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group: "One of Ukraine's most urgent requirements is ground-based air defense," Austin said. "And this contact group will continue driving hard to help Ukraine defend the skies. In recent weeks, Russia has intensified its sordid bombardment of Ukrainian cities and infrastructure. And the Kremlin's cruelty only underscores Ukraine's need for a stronger, layered ground-based air defense architecture."

Since the Russian invasion in February 2022, the U.S. has led 12 meetings of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, an alliance of more than 50 countries committed to the defense of Ukraine. Austin underscored the United States' continued support for Ukraine at the conclusion of the latest summit, saying the contact group committed to doing even more to support Ukraine's fight for freedom.

Defense News May 2023