US plans $325 million Ukraine aid announcement for Zelenskiy visit, official says

alaa20 سبتمبر 2023آخر تحديث :

وطن نيوز

NEW YORK – U.S. President Joe Biden plans to announce a $325 million military aid package for Ukraine on Thursday to coincide with a visit to Washington by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a U.S. official said on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The weapons aid package was expected to include the second tranche of cluster munitions fired by a 155 millimeter Howitzer cannon, the U.S official said.

Other new weapons for Ukraine were expected to be announced around the time of Biden’s meeting with Zelenskiy, but not ATACMS missiles which have been under discussion, the U.S. official said.

Ukraine got an initial tranche of M864 155 millimeter artillery rounds in July 2023. The unguided artillery shells are fired from NATO standard 155 cannons, have a maximum range of 18 miles (29 km) and carry up to 72 dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) M42 and M46 bomblets.

Sending 155 millimeter artillery rounds with cluster munitions has eased the drain on standard “unitary” 155 millimeter shells, which the U.S. also plans to include in this shipment.

In addition, Washington plans to send more Avenger short-range air defense systems that use Stinger missiles, made by RTX Corp, formerly Raytheon, the official said.

Included in the planned aid package for Ukraine are TOW and AT4 anti-tank weapons, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and Javelin anti-tank missiles made by a joint venture between Lockheed and RTX Corp, along with other equipment.

The package was still being finalized and could change, the official said.

The package is made possible by utilizing Presidential Drawdown Authority, which authorizes Biden to transfer articles and services from U.S. stocks without congressional approval during an emergency. The material will come from U.S. excess inventory.

Zelenskiy is scheduled to visit Capitol Hill on Thursday morning to meet lawmakers before holding White House talks with Biden later on Thursday.

Since the Russian invasion in February 2022 the U.S. has sent more than $40 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine. REUTERS