As the fight against Russian aggression enters its ninth month, the United States is providing Ukraine with nearly $400 million in additional security aid.
The Defense Department said on Friday that the latest package “underlines the continued commitment of the United States to support Ukraine’s armed forces to meet their most immediate needs, as well as increase the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces to protect its sovereignty in the long term.”
The statement says that since February 24, when Russia’s “unprovoked and brutal invasion” began, “the United States has allocated more than $18.2 billion to Ukraine.”
US military assistance includes upgraded HAWK air defense missiles; funding for 45 upgraded T-72B tanks with advanced optics, communications and weapons packages; 1,100 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones; 40 armored Riverine command boats; Funding for the repair of 250 M1117 armored security vehicles; tactical secure communication systems and surveillance systems; and funding for training, maintenance and support.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said during a visit to Kiev on Friday that US support for Ukraine would remain “unlimited and unwavering” after next Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections.
“We intend to ensure that the resources are necessary and we’re going to get the bipartisan votes to make it happen,” Sullivan told reporters during a briefing.
Some Republicans have said they will try to cut US aid to Kyiv if they take control of the US Congress in the November 8 election. Last month, the leader of Republicans in the US Congress, Kevin McCarthy, said that Americans should not “write a blank check” for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands said it will spend almost $45 million on T-72 tanks as it cooperates with the United States and the Czech Republic in sending 90 modernized Czech tanks. Ukraine also received the first batch of BMP-1 armored vehicles from Greece. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, thanked the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, for the help.
In a tweet, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba thanked the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the United States for their joint decision to provide Ukraine with 90 T-72 tanks.
John Kirby, a representative of the White House National Security Council, said in an interview with Voice of America radio chief Patsy Vidakuswara that the United States is “working closely with the Ukrainians.” According to him, Washington and Kyiv talk almost every day about Ukraine’s military capabilities, what it needs and what Washington can give them.
Kirby said the U.S. intends to provide Ukraine with advanced capabilities to help shoot down drones and cruise missiles the Russians are targeting at civilian infrastructure.
“We are also working with allies and partners of about 40 other countries [who] They are helping Ukraine to ensure security. “France, Spain, Germany have made a really big contribution in providing additional air defense capabilities,” said Kirby.
Kirby also told VOA he was encouraged to hear that the Russians do not want a nuclear exchange.
“We hope they really mean it, because we agree that nuclear war should never happen. Of course, it is impossible to win,” he said. But, he added, Washington is “judging” them not by what they say, but by what they do on the ground.
He cited Putin’s mobilization of more than 300,000 reserves and Moscow’s “fake referendum” in Ukraine, politically annexing areas it could not seize militarily, and Russia’s calls for help from countries such as Iran and North Korea.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has signaled that it is pulling out of Kherson, a strategic region for Russia, to expand westward. The Russian flag was taken from the Kherson city council building.
Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly supported the evacuation of civilians from parts of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region on Friday, the latest sign of Russia’s retreat from one of Ukraine’s most hotly contested areas.
In recent weeks, Russian-backed officials in Kherson have evacuated tens of thousands of civilians from the city and surrounding areas, and pro-Kremlin media reported that bronze statues of 18th-century Russian commanders were removed and their headquarters relocated after the withdrawal. 50 kilometers to the southeast.
Russia may be ready to fire troops who defect in Ukraine, according to a daily briefing from the British Ministry of Defense on Russia’s war against Ukraine.
“Due to low morale and reluctance to fight, Russian forces may have begun deploying ‘blocking forces’ or ‘blocking units,'” Friday’s intelligence update said. “These units shoot their retreating soldiers to attack.”
According to the ministry, the tactic of shooting deserters “proves the low quality, morale and lack of discipline of the Russian forces.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met in Germany on Friday with a number of his international counterparts – French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonnade, German Foreign Minister Annalen Baerbock and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley. They discussed “continuing transatlantic cooperation on a number of key issues, including continued support for Ukraine against Russia’s brutal war of aggression” and “Iran’s military support for Russia and its violence and pressure against the Iranian people.” US Department of State.
Answering questions from journalists in the German city of Münster, Blinken said that Russia destroyed about 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, including the thermal plants that provide heat to many Ukrainian homes, schools and hospitals when temperatures drop to 20 degrees Celsius.
“President Putin seems to have decided that if he can’t take over Ukraine by force, he’s going to try to freeze it,” Blinken said.
Zelensky asked local authorities to “prevent unnecessary use of electricity in all cities and communities of Ukraine.”
He also appealed to the enterprises in the energy industry, “be active in informing the people when and why you turn off this or that street, this or that district. Now is the time for such micro-communications. People have the right to know.”