The West is ramping up its military aid to Kyiv in anticipation of a large-scale Ukrainian counteroffensive in the upcoming weeks.
The latest package of military aid is valued at approximately $2.6 billion.
One Package, Two Portions for Ukraine
This is the 35th package of security aid to Ukraine since the war started on February 24, 2022, and it is coming from two sources.
Around $500 million is coming from Presidential Drawdown Authorities (PDA), which draw weapon systems and munitions from the Pentagon’s existing stocks. The rest $2.1 billion is coming from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which gives funds to the Pentagon to purchase new weapon systems and munitions from the industry on behalf of Ukraine.
The former program is used to deliver weapon systems to Ukraine quickly, whereas the latter program is slower and is aimed at providing weapon systems, such as air defense systems, that would be more useful in the long term.
The $500 million concern primarily munitions to replenish the stocks of the Ukrainian military.
The package includes ammunition for MIM-104 Patriot air defense systems and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), artillery shells for 155mm and 105mm howitzers, ammunition for 120mm mortars, and 120mm and 105mm tank shells. But there are small arms included, including about 400 grenade launchers with 200,000 rounds of ammo and more Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) anti-tank missiles.
In addition, the PDA portion of the military aid package includes logistical support, including 61 heavy fuel tankers, 20 trucks and trailers to transport heavy equipment, vehicle maintenance support, and spare parts for existing weapon systems in service with the Ukrainian military.
As far as the USAI portion of the military aid package, it is primarily concerned with air defense.
The $2.1 billion portion of the 35th military aid package includes additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), counter-Unmanned Aerial System 30mm gun trucks, mobile Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems laser-guided rocket systems, and air surveillance radars, among other weapon systems.
Although the Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure and urban centers have slowed down, Ukraine still needs strong air defenses.
The package also includes support equipment, such as additional trucks and trailers to transport heavy equipment, as well as more than 23 million rounds of small arms ammunition.
The Ukrainian Counteroffensive
The Ukrainian military is getting ready to launch a counteroffensive. Although the precise location and timing are unknown, Kyiv officials have suggested that the attack will take place in the upcoming weeks, most likely between May and June.
The Ukrainian military will want to have plenty of time to take advantage of any success that the counteroffensive might produce. The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the fall was forced to stall after a few weeks because of the deteriorating weather conditions.
With the whole summer in front of them, the Ukrainians will likely want to take advantage of these long-lasting favorable weather conditions fully.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.