The U.S. will send $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including more ammunition and, for the first time, eight armored vehicles equipped with pop-up bridges, according to a Friday statement.
The Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge is a portable 60-foot metal bridge that can be launched at rivers or gaps to offer Ukrainian troops crossing points, as just over one year of war has destroyed large portions of Ukraine’s transportation infrastructure, according to The Associated Press.
New capabilities will be pulled directly from existing U.S. stockpiles and could arrive in time to support an offensive U.S. officials expect Ukraine to launch after the spring thaw.
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“To meet Ukraine’s evolving battlefield requirements, the United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with key capabilities,” the Department of Defense (DOD) said in the statement.
The package will bring total U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, announced since Russia launched a full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, to more than $32 billion, according to the DOD.
Besides the portable bridges, the package includes an undefined amount of ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and howitzers, demolition supplies, and maintenance equipment.
American troops have hosted war planning exercises for Ukrainian forces in Germany in recent weeks to help Ukrainian officers prepare to lead their troops through possible battle scenarios, Reuters reported.
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The announcement comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Russian counterpart on Thursday, the highest-level in-person communication between U.S. and Russian officials since the war began. However, there is no indication Blinken’s conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov achieved progress toward easing tensions.
Blinken told Lavrov that Washington will continue to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” echoing a line that has been a staple of the Biden administration’s public messaging since the beginning.
On the anniversary of Russia’s invasion, the U.S. announced $2 billion in long-term military aid for Ukraine, including advanced drones and electronic warfare detection equipment.
It also includes 155 mm artillery rounds and HIMARS munitions in undefined quantities, an unusual move given that previous assistance packages have generally specified the amount of munitions supplied.
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One year after Russia launched the invasion, “Ukraine’s brave defenders have not wavered, and neither has our commitment to support them for as long as it takes,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
Austin urged allies to remain “clear-eyed” about the stakes of the war, calling it the most urgent threat to face Europe since World War II.
“Difficult times may lie ahead,” Austin warned.
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