US announces 1.3 billion USD military aid package for Ukraine to “deter Russian aggression”

Washington [US], July 20 (ANI): The US government on Wednesday announced a 1.3 billion USD military aid package for Ukraine — during its ongoing conflict with Russia — including air defence systems and attack drones.
According to the US Department of Defence, the package includes four more National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), medium-range air defence batteries that have helped Ukraine withstand ongoing Russian barrages of missiles and drones. Notably, it is the same system that is used to protect Washington DC and the area around the US capital.
“This USAI package highlights the continued US commitment to meeting Ukraine’s pressing requirements by committing critical near-term capabilities while also building the enduring capacity of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the mid and long term,” the US Department of Defence said in a statement.
The latest package will give Kyiv a total of 12 NASAMS from the US. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said last November that the NASAMS had a 100 per cent success rate in intercepting Russian attacks, CNN reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, Lloyd Austin had said following an international meeting of countries providing aid to Ukraine “Make no mistake: We are determined to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom for as long as it takes.”
The latest package falls under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which is part of the long-term US commitment to provide aid to Ukraine. Unlike drawdown packages, which are pulled directly from Defence Department stocks and can be sent in relatively quickly, USAI packages are contracted with industry, a process which can take months or more, CNN reported.
The package also includes Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade attack drones, as well as counter-drone equipment.
The sizable Ukraine aid package comes during Ukraine’s ongoing counter-offensive, which has faced stiff Russian resistance and widespread minefields, which have slowed its progress.
“The United States will continue to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements,” the US DoD added.
Meanwhile, the US is also expected to announce a separate aid package of about 400 million USD that will include more ammunition for the NASAMS, according to two US officials, as well as ammo for Patriot missile defense systems and HIMARS rocket launchers, CNN reported.
The package will also contain more artillery ammunition. However, the officials have warned that artillery ammunition is in short supply, especially with the possibility of a prolonged Ukrainian counteroffensive that will drain current stockpiles. 

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