US to send $3 billion in aid to Ukraine, including Bradley Fighting Vehicles
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced a new $3 billion military assistance package for Ukraine that will include Bradley combat vehicles, which officials say would be particularly useful to Ukrainian units fighting Russian forces in the Donbass region, in the east of the country.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said the administration would also send $682 million to countries on NATO’s eastern flank, some of which have reduced their own arsenals to provide more equipment. military to Ukraine.
The Ukrainians have requested the infantry fighting vehicles as they continue to push back the forces of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. Officials said the vehicles would aid in what the military calls combined arms maneuvers, which refer to the close coordination of air power, artillery and ground forces in operations.
“It’s a lot of farmland, a lot of open terrain and it lends itself well to the kinds of capabilities that are in this package,” said John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council. “The Bradley fighting vehicles are very important in terms of being able to do what we call combined arms maneuver warfare.”
The supply of the armored vehicles was planned in a joint statement by the United States and Germany on Thursday, and comes amid a flurry of announcements of new aid from Ukraine’s allies, including France .
The state of war
- Ceasefire: On January 5, the Kremlin announced a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine to mark Eastern Orthodox Christmas. Amid continued attacks, Ukrainian leaders dismissed the idea as a cynical posturing of an untrustworthy enemy.
- Sex crimes: After months of bureaucratic and political delays, Ukrainian officials are ramping up documentation of sex crimes committed by Russian forces during the war.
- A new resource: The Pentagon will supply Kyiv with Bradley Fighting Vehicles, which offer greater protection and firepower than any truck or armored personnel carrier the West has sent so far.
- Targeting Mobile phones: Ukraine is able to target Russian soldiers by tracking signals from their cell phones. Despite the deadly results, troops in Moscow continue to defy a ban on the use of phones.
During a briefing to reporters on Friday afternoon, Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense who led the Pentagon’s military assistance program to Ukraine, gave details of a new weapons package, $2.85 billion in munitions and vehicles – the Pentagon’s 29th equipment drawdown since August 2021 – and $225 million in foreign military funding for Ukraine.
The largest items from Pentagon inventory are 50 Bradley M2A2 infantry fighting vehicles, with 500 TOW anti-tank missiles and 250,000 25 millimeter rounds to fire.
The Bradley is designed to carry a squad of half a dozen soldiers into battle and provide fire support with its turret-mounted 25mm cannon. It also carries TOW missiles that can destroy enemy tanks, and the vehicle’s hull is shrouded in advanced armor blocks to protect it from incoming fire. Some versions of the vehicle are fitted with laser rangefinders and thermal optics to help the three-soldier crew find targets they can engage, which would give Ukrainian troops an edge on the battlefield.
For the first time, the United States will provide 18 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, as well as an undetermined number of 155 millimeter shells to be fired. The Pentagon will also send another 36 105mm towed howitzers with ammunition.
The US will send 4,000 Zuni rockets – eight-foot-long unguided rockets fired by warplanes that can carry around 10 pounds of explosives, and US RIM-7 Sea Sparrow air defense missiles which Ms. Cooper, were adapted to work with the Ukrainian Soviet Union. -Buk missile launchers of the time.
“It’s a creative solution that required some engineering finesse,” she said of adapting US missiles to Russian-made launchers. “But we are very happy that it works for Ukrainians.”
The Pentagon will send 100 additional M113 armored personnel carriers, in addition to the 200 already committed to Kyiv, and 138 additional Humvee trucks added to the 1,300 already sent by the United States.
“When you look at the United States and the international response in providing the equipment, and especially now the training that we provide, it gives Ukraine an opportunity to change the equation on the battlefield and take momentum and not just defending territory, but hopefully reclaiming territory,” Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, the Pentagon’s spokesman, told reporters during the briefing with Ms. Cooper. “And so that’s part of of this continued effort to support them in this larger campaign.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine expressed his gratitude for the package in his Friday evening speech.
“For the first time we will have Bradley Fighting Vehicles – that’s exactly what we need,” he said. “New rifles and projectiles, including high precision ones. New missiles. New drones. It is timely and strong.
Anouchka Patil contributed report.
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