Kyiv’s long-awaited counteroffensive is underway. The Ukrainian military has been progressing steadily in the country’s southeastern part.
However, the counteroffensive is costly, requiring an abundance of men, weapon systems, and munitions.
As such, the U.S. Department of Defense announced another package of military aid to Ukraine worth more than $2 billion.
More Munitions for Ukraine
More specifically, it includes the following weapon systems and munitions: Air defense missiles for the MIM-104 Patriot air defense system, MIM-23 HAWK air defense systems and missiles, 203mm and 105mm artillery rounds, RQ-20 Puma unmanned aerial systems, laser-guided rocket system munitions, and training and maintenance support.
“This USAI package illustrates the continued commitment to both Ukraine’s critical near-term capabilities as well as the enduring capacity of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term,” the Pentagon stated in a press release.
This is the 40th security aid package to Ukraine since August 2021 and the second one in the past couple of weeks. NATO, the European Union, and third countries have also contributed significantly to Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression. But with more than $35 billion in security aid to Ukraine in the past two years, the U.S. is by far the largest contributor to Ukraine’s defense.
For example, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with over 200 million rounds of small ammunition and grenades, 160 M-777 155mm howitzers with over 2 million 155mm artillery rounds, 72 M-119 105mm howitzers with over 500,000 artillery rounds, over 70,000 anti-tank weapons, and more than 100,000 sets of body armor and helmets.
Military Aid Is Making the Difference
The weapon systems the U.S. and NATO are sending to Ukraine are making the difference on the ground.
The MIM-104 Patriot air defense weapon system has proved particularly effective in the war so far. The U.S. military’s go-to air defense system only became active recently, but it has already protected Kyiv from incoming Russian missile attacks. And not just any attacks.
A few weeks ago, the Russian military launched a barrage of ballistic and cruise missiles, including Kh-47 Kinzhal hypersonic munitions, against the Ukrainian capital. Cruising as fast as several times the speed of sounds, the Kh-47 Kinzhal hypersonic missiles went after the MIM-104 Patriot air defense battery that is protecting Kyiv. However, the Ukrainian air defense system took out the incoming munitions in short succession.
The Ukrainian military continues to rely on its Western air defense systems to fend off incoming Russian missile and drone attacks. Over the weekend, the Russian military launched a salvo of cruise missiles and suicide drones against a Ukrainian field airfield that is supporting the ongoing counteroffensive. Western air defense systems were able to minimize the damage from the incoming Russian munitions.
As the Ukrainian counteroffensive continues to unfold, Kyiv will need as much help as possible to finish this bloody conflict sooner than later.
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.