The United States is giving Ukraine another $400 million in defense aid as the fight against Russian aggression enters its ninth month.
The Defense Department said Friday that the latest package “underlines the continued U.S. commitment to meet the urgent needs of Ukraine while building the capacity of its armed forces to protect Ukraine’s long-term sovereignty.”
The United States has now committed more than $18.2 billion to Ukraine since the start of the “February 24th Russia’s unexpected and brutal invasion.”
US military support includes upgraded HAWK air defense missiles; Funding for 45 upgraded T-72B tanks with advanced vision, communications and armor packages; 1,100 Phoenix Ghost tactical unmanned aerial systems; 40 armed river command boats; Funds to refurbish 250 M1117 armored personnel carriers; tactical security communication systems and surveillance systems; and funding for training, maintenance and sustainment.
Earlier on Friday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on a visit to Kiev that US support for Ukraine would remain “unwavering and unwavering” after next Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections.
“We fully intend to make sure the resources are there as needed, and we’re going to get votes from both sides of the aisle to do that,” Sullivan told reporters.
Some Republicans have indicated they would seek to return US aid to Kyiv if they win control of the US Congress in the November 8 election. Last month, the top Republican in the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, said Americans should not “write a blank check” for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands said it will spend nearly $45 million on T-72 tanks as it cooperates with the United States and the Czech Republic to ship 90 upgraded Czech tanks. Ukraine also received the first batch of BMP-1 armored vehicles from Greece. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou for the assistance.
In a tweet, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba thanked the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and the United States for their joint decision to provide Ukraine with 90 T-72 tanks.
Earlier, in an interview with VOA White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the United States was “working in lockstep with the Ukrainians.” Washington and Kiev talk almost daily about Ukraine’s military capabilities, what it needs and what Washington can provide them, he said.
Kirby said the U.S. is looking to provide more advanced capabilities to help Ukraine shoot down drones and cruise missiles the Russians fire at civilian infrastructure.
“We are also working with allies and partners in about 40 other countries [who] Provides security assistance to Ukraine. France, Spain, Germany have made a real big contribution in terms of providing additional air defense capabilities,” Kirby said.
Kirby told VOA it was encouraging to hear that the Russians did not want a nuclear exchange.
“We agree that a nuclear war should never be fought, so we hope that’s what they really mean. “It is definitely not winnable,” he said. But, he added, Washington will “judge” them not by what they say, but by what they do on the ground.
He referred to Putin’s mobilization of more than 300,000 reserves and Moscow’s “fraudulent referendum” in Ukraine to politically annex the militarily uncontainable territory, as well as Russia seeking help from countries such as Iran and North Korea.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin signaled it was withdrawing from Kherson, a strategic region for Russia to expand westward. The Russian flag has been removed from Curzon’s city council building.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday publicly approved the evacuation of civilians from parts of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, the latest sign of Russia’s retreat from one of Ukraine’s most hotly contested areas.
In recent weeks, Russian-backed officials in Kherson have evacuated tens of thousands of civilians from the city and surrounding areas, and pro-Kremlin media members have reported that withdrawing Russian troops moved their headquarters with bronze statues of 18th-century Russian commanders. 50 southeast.
According to the British Ministry of Defense’s daily updates on Russia’s war against Ukraine, Russia may also be preparing to open fire on deserting soldiers in Ukraine.
“Due to low morale and reluctance to fight, Russian forces have often begun deploying ‘blockade troops’ or ‘blocking units,'” Friday’s intelligence update said. “These units threaten to shoot their own retreating soldiers to force attacks.”
The ministry said the tactic of shooting at the fugitives “confirms the low quality, low morale and indiscipline of the Russian forces”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met some of his international counterparts in Germany on Friday – French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, German Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley. They discussed continuing transatlantic cooperation on a number of key issues, including “continuing support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression” and “Iran’s military support for Russia and its violent repression and repression of the Iranian people.” US Department of State.
Speaking to reporters in Muenster, Germany, Blinken said Russia had destroyed about 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, including thermal power plants that provide heat to many Ukrainian homes, schools and hospitals when temperatures can drop to 20 degrees Celsius.
“It appears that President Putin has decided that if he cannot take Ukraine by force, he will try to capitulate and freeze it,” Blinken said.
Zelenskyy called on local authorities to “ensure that there is no unnecessary use of electricity in all cities and communities of Ukraine.”
He appealed to energy companies to “be more proactive in explaining to people when and why you are disconnecting this or that street, this or that district. Now is the time for such microcommunication. People have a right to know.”