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US President Biden meets Ukraine President Zelensky and announces additional $325Mn arms package focusing on ammunition.

| 2023

On September 21, 2023, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. will send an additional security assistance package for Ukraine valued at up to $325 million as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy concluded his second visit to Washington since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion, Joseph Clark, U.S. DoD, reports.
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US soldiers fire a mine-clearing line charge from a Stryker armored vehicle at Fort Irwin, Calif., Aug. 23, 2023. With the country’s air defense, mine clearing is a major concern for the Ukrainian forces in their current counter-offensive against the Russian invader (Picture source: U.S. DoD)

President Joe Biden unveiled the aid package after meeting with Zelenskyy at the White House: "We're committed to help Ukraine build a force capable of ensuring Ukraine's long-term security, capable of deterring future threats against sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom, which are underway now," Biden said. "Because that's what this is all about — the future, the future of freedom. America can never, will never walk away from that."

The latest round of assistance marks the 47th drawdown of equipment from Defense Department inventories for Ukraine since August 2021 and reflects the United States' enduring commitment in the face of Russian aggression.

Zelenskyy's meeting with Biden capped the Ukrainian president's daylong tour through Washington, which also included discussions with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and a meeting with defense officials at the Pentagon. In his remarks ahead of the closed-door meeting at the White House, Zelenskyy said that he came to Washington to "strengthen Ukraine's position to defend our children, our families, our homes, freedom and democracy in the world. It's good that our countries are really, truly allies," he said before expressing his appreciation for the "vital assistance provided by the United States to Ukraine to combat Russia terrorism."

Earlier in the day, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III reaffirmed the United States' unwavering support for Ukraine during his meeting with the Ukrainian president at the Pentagon. The two discussed the outcome of the most recent meeting of more than 50 countries at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany earlier this week. Austin also provided Zelenskyy with an update on U.S. security assistance to meet Ukraine's most urgent battlefield needs. "The secretary gave his personal commitment to work with our allies and partners to ensure they have what they need," said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder. Describing the meeting as warm and engaging, Ryder said it also provided them with an opportunity to discuss Ukraine's longer-term capability requirements "and how to support them in the future in terms of deterring Russia."

The 47th U.S. military assistance package to Ukraine

The Biden Administration is continuing its support for Ukraine with the announcement of the 47th tranche of equipment to be provided from U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) inventories. This latest package, valued at an impressive $325 million, encompasses a wide range of capabilities aimed at bolstering Ukraine's defense capabilities.

Among the items included in this substantial assistance package are AIM-9M missiles, specifically designed for air defense, ensuring that Ukrainian forces have the means to deter aerial threats. Additionally, the package includes a significant supply of ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), reinforcing Ukraine's artillery capabilities.

Recognizing the need for robust short-range air defense, the package also includes Avenger short-range air defense systems. These systems will enhance Ukraine's ability to protect its airspace and vital assets from airborne threats.

In response to the evolving nature of modern warfare, the package incorporates .50 caliber machine guns to counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), addressing the emerging challenges posed by drone technology.

Artillery support is a crucial aspect of any defense strategy, and the Biden Administration's commitment is evident in the provision of 155mm artillery rounds, including DPICM, and 105mm artillery rounds. These rounds will enable Ukrainian forces to maintain effective artillery operations.

Furthermore, the package includes Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) anti-tank missiles, Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems, essential tools in countering armored threats on the battlefield. These anti-armor systems will significantly enhance Ukraine's ability to defend against armored incursions.

In addition to these formidable assets, the package comprises over 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition, ensuring that Ukrainian infantry units remain well-equipped and supplied for their missions.

To bolster mobility, 59 light tactical vehicles are included, providing Ukrainian forces with versatile transportation options for various operational scenarios.

Clearing obstacles and securing vital terrain is a critical aspect of any military campaign. To this end, the package includes demolition munitions, essential for obstacle clearing and terrain control.

Lastly, the Biden Administration's commitment to sustaining these capabilities is evident in the provision of spare parts, maintenance equipment, and other field equipment. This comprehensive support ensures that Ukrainian forces can effectively maintain and utilize the equipment provided.

In sum, this 47th tranche of equipment from the U.S. DoD inventories represents a substantial commitment by the Biden Administration to support Ukraine's defense efforts. These capabilities, ranging from air defense and artillery support to anti-armor systems and small arms ammunition, are designed to enhance Ukraine's ability to defend its sovereignty and maintain stability in the region.

This security assistance package will utilize assistance previously authorized under the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) for Ukraine that remained after the PDA revaluation process concluded in June as well as assistance under a new PDA.

Defense News September 2023

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