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US declares $3.75 billion in fresh military aid to Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday announced more than $3.75 billion in military assistance to Ukraine and countries affected by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Blinken said in a statement that Washington will provide Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, self-propelled Howitzers, armoured personnel carriers, surface to air missiles, ammunition, and other items.

The package makes the largest use — $2.8 billion — of the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) since the crisis started last February, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

That authority allows the United States to transfer defence items like Humvees, trucks and munitions from stocks quickly without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

The aid includes mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS), surface-to-air missiles, anti-vehicle land mines and ammunition, Jean-Pierre said.

RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles, used for air defence, will also be sent to Ukraine, according to a document seen by Reuters. The Sea Sparrow is in production by Raytheon Technologies Corp and General Dynamics Corp.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stressed the need for better air defences to curb Russian missile strikes that have damaged the country’s energy infrastructure during winter.

The United States and Germany have also pledged to send Patriot missile systems to repel Russian missile and drone attacks.

“This particular PDA package, and the Bradley Fighting Vehicles, are very significant in terms of being able to do what we call combined arms manoeuvre warfare,” said John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.

Ukrainian forces will be trained on the tactic starting in the coming weeks.

The armoured Bradley has a powerful gun and has been used regularly by the US Army to carry troops around battlefields since the mid-1980s. The Army has thousands of Bradleys. The United States plans to send about 50.

“The fighting in the east, particularly in the Donbas region has been particularly vicious in recent weeks and we see every indication that the Russians continue to want to propagate their efforts in the Donbas, particularly around Bakhmut,” said Kirby.

In addition to the weapons, the aid included $225 million in Foreign Military Financing to help Ukraine build and modernise its military, Jean-Pierre said.

She said the package also included an additional $682 million for “regional partners and allies on NATO’s eastern flank” to encourage those that have sent weapons to Ukraine to supply more. The US funds can be used to help them buy replacement equipment.

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