Monday, January 30, 2023

US announces new US$2.5 billion aid package for Ukraine

The Pentagon announced a new US$2.5 billion military aid package for Ukraine on Thursday, complete with armored cars and anti-aircraft defenses, but without the Abrams tanks that Germany has asked it to provide.

In a statement, the US Department of Defense reported that it will send 59 Bradley battle tanks to kyiv, with 590 TOW anti-tank missiles and 295,000 pieces of 25-millimeter ammunition.

Likewise, it will allocate to Ukraine eight Avenger anti-aircraft defense systems, 350 Humvee all-terrain vehicles, 20,000 155-mm artillery pieces and 90 Stryker armored vehicles with 20 demining devices, among others.

The package also includes air-to-surface HARM missiles, which are used to destroy radar-equipped air defense systems; 2,000 anti-armor rockets, and 3 million small arms ammunition.

The Pentagon said the latest airstrikes on Ukraine’s “crucial” infrastructure demonstrate “the devastating impact of Russia’s brutal war.”

He stressed that the 59 Bradleys will join the fifty that he announced on January 6 and that together with the 90 Strykers will mean two armored brigades for Ukraine

The Pentagon assured this Thursday that it makes no sense for the US to now send Abrams tanks to Ukraine, as Germany has requested in exchange for providing the Leopard 2 main battle tanks.

US Defense Department Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said at a press conference that it is a maintenance issue.

Abrams “is a tank that requires jet fuel, while the Leopard and Challenger (these last British tanks that are going to be sent to Ukraine) have a different engine, they need diesel, they are a little easier to maintain,” Singh said. .

The US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, is visiting Germany, where he met this Thursday with his German counterpart, Boris Pistorius, who assured that his country will continue to support Ukraine with its partners so that it can defend itself, but did not mention the question of the contribution of Leopard 2 tanks.

This Friday Austin is expected to participate in a Ukraine contact group meeting, with the presence of allies, at the US Ramstein airbase in western Germany, where commitments of concrete military aid from Western powers are expected. .

At the center of the discussion is the shipment of German-made Leopard 2 armored combat vehicles, which Ukraine requests.

Until now, the German line has been to coordinate the shipment with the allies and, according to German media reports, Chancellor Olaf Scholz told US President Joe Biden that his country would only send Leopard 2 if the US also sends Abrams tanks. .

Singh recalled that the US has already provided Ukraine with Bradley battle tanks and will continue to send equipment to kyiv.

Although similar to a tank, the Bradleys are main battle tanks with lighter armor and a smaller gun, typically 25mm compared to the 120mm Abrams.

Despite the fact that the US has numerous armored cars, the Abrams is the only proper tank: it is bigger, has a movable turret equipped with a large gun, and has track drive.

Since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the US has sent Ukraine more than $26.7 billion in military aid.

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