Highlights

  • US announces additional military aid for Ukraine
  • US pledges $270 million in security assistance to Ukraine
  • Package includes medium range rocket systems, tactical drones

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Medium range rocket systems, tactical drones: US' new military package for Ukraine

The latest tranche brings the total US security assistance committed to Ukraine to USD 8.2 billion since the war began in late February

The White House announced Friday that the US is sending an additional USD 270 million in security assistance to Ukraine, a package that will include additional medium range rocket systems and tactical drones.

The latest tranche brings the total US security assistance committed to Ukraine to USD 8.2 billion since the war began in late February, and is being paid for through USD 40 billion in economic and security aid for Ukraine approved by Congress in May.

The new package includes four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and 580 Phoenix Ghost drones, both crucial weapon systems that have allowed the Ukrainians to stay in the fight despite Russian artillery supremacy, according to John Kirby, the White House National Security Council's coordinator for strategic communications .

Ukrainian forces have used US-made rocket launchers and tactical drones to destroy dozens of Russian targets and hold at bay Russia's larger and more heavily equipped forces.

Also Watch| Ukraine and Russia sign UN deal to enable grain export amid war

Russia can fire far more ammunition but has sustained huge losses of troops and equipment as Ukrainian forces have been equipped with precision weaponry from the US and other Western allies.

CIA Director William Burns on Wednesday said the US estimates roughly 15,000 Russian forces have been killed.

That death toll would be equivalent to the Soviet Union's military losses in its 1980s war in Afghanistan, which lasted nearly a decade.

To try to equalize the conflict, Ukraine has made ample use of Western-supplied technologies as it defends its eastern lines.

Ukraine has long sought more HIMARS launchers, which fire medium-range rockets and also can be quickly moved before Russia can target them. On Wednesday, Ukrainian forces reportedly used a HIMARS to hit a strategic bridge in the Russia-occupied southern region of Kherson. One military expert told The Associated Press that the systems have “hardly had any rest during the day or at night.” US authorities also are providing Ukraine with more guided rockets known as GMLRS. The Pentagon continues to rule out sending longer-range rockets that Ukraine could potentially use to strike deep into Russian territory. That's a nod to the US trying to manage the risk of Russia instigating a broader war.

The US has already sent 12 truck-mounted HIMARS to Ukraine. The United Kingdom has also provided three launchers of a different kind with GMLRS rockets as well.

Both sides in the war have made ample use of drones. The US had previously committed to sending 121 Phoenix Ghosts to Ukraine.

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