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US prepares $1bn package for Ukraine as HIMARS fuels Kyiv hopes: report

The United States will supply Ukraine with additional ammunition for long-range weapons that effectively target Russian forces as part of an exceptional security package, according to a report.

Reuters said President Joe Biden’s administration is set to announce a billion-dollar package including ammunition for the US-produced M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), including the range allowed Kyiv to hit important targets.

There are believed to be 16 US-supplied HIMARS in Ukraine which Kyiv forces say have successfully struck Russian command centers and ammunition depots.

The new package will come through the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows Biden to authorize transfers of U.S. stocks without congressional approval.

U.S. military personnel stand near an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in Riyadh during Saudi Arabia’s first World Defense Show on March 6, 2022. Reuters reported on August 5, 2022 that the United States will were preparing to supply Kyiv forces with ammunition for the weapons that successfully hit Russian targets.
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The package will also include ammunition for the NASAMS surface-to-air missile system and up to 50 M113 armored medical transport vehicles, including 200 that the United States had previously committed to Ukraine.

In July, the United States pledged to send two NASAMS, although it is not clear if the launchers are already in Ukraine, or if the ordnance was for launchers donated by another country.

The latest US contribution, which could be announced as early as Monday, adds to the $8.8 billion in US aid to Kyiv since the war began on February 24.

Newsweek contacted the Pentagon for comment.

Ukraine hailed the latest delivery of HIMARS and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the support his forces are receiving from the United States, saying it “brings us closer to victory”.

And the FinancialTimes reported that the HIMARS systems “fueled Ukraine’s hopes” of a counter-offensive.

It comes as Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Russia’s war on Ukraine “is about to enter a new phase”.

In their daily assessment, defense officials said Russian convoys of military vehicles and weapons were moving away from the eastern Donbass region and massing in the south in anticipation of a “possible assault” or a Kyiv counter-offensive.

They said equipment was also moving from Russian-occupied Melitopol, Berdyansk, Mariupol and mainland Russia over the Kerch Bridge to Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) of up to 1,000 men had been deployed in Crimea “and would almost certainly be used to support Russian troops in the Kherson region”, which Ukraine is trying to wrest from Russian control.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces continued to target bridges, ammunition depots and rail links in southern regions.

This push includes the strategically important rail spur that connects Kherson to Crimea, as Ukraine tries “to affect Russia’s ability to resupply itself logistically.”

Last week, Ukrainian forces used HIMARS to strike the Antonivskiy Bridge and a nearby railway bridge over the Dnipro River in Kherson, dealing a heavy blow to Russian forces.

Newsweek contacted the defense ministries of Ukraine and Russia for comment.


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