U.S. Supplied NASAMS Are Working, And More Aid Is On The Way: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin revealed on Wednesday that NASAMS air defense systems provided to Ukraine by the United States have a 100% success rate. The news comes as Western leaders confirm that the missile strike that killed two people in Poland on Tuesday night was likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense interceptor chasing a Russian rocket or missile.
NASAMS and More Headed to Ukraine
Austin announced the success of the U.S.-supplied weapons at the beginning of a virtual meeting of defense ministers from all over the world. The U.S. official also announced that the United States is preparing to work with Poland on gathering more information about the strike and what the appropriate response should be.
While Austin didn’t confirm who was to blame for the strike, his comments about Ukraine’s successful use of NASAMS air defense systems may have been intentional. The U.S. began expediting shipments of the surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine in October, with the first delivery arriving in early November. The missile systems will help Ukraine defend itself against incoming Russian missile and drone strikes, and form part of a collective effort from Western countries to help Ukraine defend its airspace.
Zelenskyy has spent months calling on the United States and European countries to send more air defense systems, even allowing Ukrainian officials to reach out to U.S. Congressional leaders to request support.
“We must ensure full protection of the Ukrainian sky and will continue to do everything possible and impossible for this,” Zelenskyy said.
The United Kingdom and multiple European countries have also stepped up to help Ukraine, with Spain recently committing to send a decommissioned Skyguard system with Aspide 2000 missiles that can reach targets up to distances of 15.5 miles. Germany has also pledged four IRIS-T short-range anti-aircraft missile systems, and the United Kingdom announced in October the delivery of AMRAAM rockets.
More Aid On the Way for Ukraine
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced this week that his government will deliver its biggest aid package to Ukraine worth 3 billion crowns ($287 million).
Speaking to reporters, Kristersson said it is a “bigger military support package than all eight previous packages combined.”
“It’s the single largest we’ve done, and we follow exactly the Ukrainian priority list of what they themselves think they need just now.”
This week, the White House also asked Congress for a further $37.7 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine, which is expected to come as part of a spending bill to be voted on before December 16.
The new package, should it pass, will see a further $21.7 billion set aside for weapons and equipment, as well as $14.5 billion for direct budget support and humanitarian aid, as well as $900 million for refugee support and healthcare. Another $626 million will also be set aside for nuclear security support in Ukraine.