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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

US is sending new $325 million weapons package to Ukraine

By Helene Cooper

The United States is sending another weapons package to Ukraine — this one valued at $325 million, Pentagon officials said Wednesday, as the Biden administration moves to shore up Ukrainian munitions and logistical supplies in advance of an expected counteroffensive.

The new package includes ammunition for HIMARS rocket systems, artillery rounds, anti-armor weapon systems and antitank mines. Two weeks ago, the administration announced a $2.6 billion package that included munitions for Ukraine’s air defense systems.

The $325 million will provide weaponry from military stockpiles, officials said.

Ukrainian troops who were trained recently in how to use the Patriot missile system are expected to arrive in Ukraine soon. On Wednesday, Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, wrote in a tweet that a Patriot system had arrived in the country.

U.S. officials have been rushing to reinforce Ukraine’s air defenses amid worries that President Vladimir Putin of Russia will decide that he is ready to redeploy his air force, which has largely sat out the war, in an effort to gain ground.

Officials say that Ukraine’s air defenses, which troops keep on the move to avoid Russian strikes, have done a good job of keeping Russian war planes out of the skies over most of the country.

But leaked classified Pentagon documents that surfaced on social media sites two weeks ago show that, as of early March, there was concern in the U.S. intelligence community that Ukraine was running low on air defense munitions.

The latest weapons package will include precision-guided munitions, four logistics support vehicles, more than 9 million rounds of small arms munitions, demolition munitions for obstacle clearing, and equipment meant to help Ukrainian forces secure their ports and harbors.

A fierce battle still rages in the city of Bakhmut, which is at the heart of a Russian campaign to seize all of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Russian troops were expected to have taken the city months ago, but the battle has been long and costly.

Pentagon officials say that the front lines remain static, with both sides exchanging significant amounts of artillery fire.

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