U.S pledges new $625m military aid for Ukraine
The United States has promised a new $625million security assistance package to Ukraine that would include High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers.
According to a White House statement, U.S President Joe Biden made the promise in a telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday.
Biden was joined in the call by U.S Vice President Kamala Harris.
Biden underscored that Washington would never recognize Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory, the statement read.
Biden “pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes,” it added.
The aid package is the first since Russia’s most recently declared annexation of Ukrainian territory and the second Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) since Ukraine’s large battlefield gains in mid-September.
In a strongly worded response, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States said Washington’s decision to send more military aid to Ukraine risks escalating the war.
“We perceive this as an immediate threat to the strategic interests of our country,” Antonov said on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday.
“The supply of military products by the U.S. and its allies not only entails protracted bloodshed and new casualties but also increases the danger of a direct military clash between Russia and Western countries.”
Russia’s declared annexations last week followed what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine.
Western governments and Kyiv said the votes breached international law and were coercive and non-representative.
The U.S State Department said in a release that the package includes four HIMARS launchers and associated rockets, 32 Howitzers with 75,000 rounds of ammunition, 200 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, and Claymore anti-personnel mines.
“Recent developments from Russia’s sham referenda and attempted annexation to new revelations of brutality against civilians in Ukrainian territory formerly controlled by Russia only strengthen our resolve,” the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Made by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), the HIMARS launchers’ accuracy and longer range have allowed Kyiv to reduce Russia’s artillery advantage.