WASHINGTON – The United States will give Ukraine up to $1.2 billion to buy more air defense missiles, artillery ammunition and satellite imagery from commercial companies, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. The financial aid comes as part of a program called the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which allows Kyiv to buy goods directly from the defense industry.
“USAI gives us the ability to use the power and capabilities of the private sector to support the medium and long-term security assistance needs of Ukraine,” said Brig. General Patrick S. Ryder, the Pentagon spokesman, on Tuesday afternoon in a briefing with reporters.
From 2016 to 2021, Washington gave Kyiv more than $1.32 billion as part of the same initiative, according to government records. The new aid announcement brings the total provided under the same initiative since the entire Russian invasion of Ukraine, in February 2022, to almost $14.6 billion.
The funds provided as part of the initiative went towards the purchase of attack drones, Javelin anti-tank missiles, Soviet-caliber and NATO-standard artillery ammunition, coastal defense missiles, armored riverine boats, M1 Abrams tanks, NASAMS air -defense missile launcher, M142 HIMARS vehicles and the guided rockets they fire among many others.
The goods will arrive in Ukraine in the months and years to come, as defense companies manufacture them. The aid announced Tuesday is separate from 37 previously announced military hardware aid packages pulled from the Pentagon’s existing stockpile since August 2021, worth at least $21 billion.
A major focus of the $1.2 billion in new funding for Ukraine will be to purchase air-defense missiles for Kyiv to use to repel Russian aerial attacks, General Ryder said. Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, has been repeatedly targeted by Russian strikes, including on Monday and early Tuesday.
“We will continue to accelerate ground-based air defense capabilities and munitions to help Ukraine control its sovereign skies and to help Ukraine protect its citizens from Russian cruise missiles and drones in Iran,” he said. “It’s something we’ll continue to pursue both in the near term and in the long term.”
General Ryder also confirmed reports that an American-made Patriot air defense system supplied to Ukraine shot down a Russian Kinzhal missile on Thursday.
The Kinzhal, which is an air-launched version of an Iskander ballistic missile, is believed to meet the definition of a hypersonic weapon – that it can fly and maneuver at speeds equal to or more than five times the speed of sound, a feature. intended to defeat antimissile defenses.
In addition to a US-supplied Patriot system, the Ukrainians also operate one provided by the Netherlands, General Ryder said, but he deferred to the Ukrainian government’s questions about which one was used to deal with Kinzhal in Russia.
Aishwarya Kavi contributed to the report.