The Pentagon has announced a new package of US military support to Ukraine which includes hundreds of armoured vehicles, including Stryker armoured personnel carriers for the first time.
The new package is valued at up to $2.5bn (£2bn) and is the Biden administration's 30th drawdown of equipment from US Department of Defense (DoD) inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.
The announcement comes after the US earlier in the week signalled that it was ready to further step up its military assistance for Ukraine as Britain and America vowed to maintain their support in the struggle against Russia "for as long as it takes".
Following talks in Washington earlier this week with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, US secretary of state Antony Blinken welcomed the UK's decision to supply Kyiv with British Army Challenger 2 main battle tanks.
However, the new US package does not include tanks despite repeated calls from Ukraine for the vehicles.
The US' latest delivery of equipment includes:
- Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS)
- Eight Avenger air defense systems
- Fifty-nine Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) with 590 TOW anti-tank missiles and 295,000 rounds of 25mm ammunition
- Ninety Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) with 20 mine rollers
- Fifty-three Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs)
- 350 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs)
- 20,000 155mm artillery rounds
- Approximately 600 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds
- 95,000 105mm artillery rounds
- Approximately 11,800 120mm mortar rounds
- Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars)
- Twelve ammunition support vehicles
- Six command post vehicles
- Twenty-two tactical vehicles to tow weapons
- High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs)
- Approximately 2,000 anti-armour rockets
- More than 3,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition
- Demolition equipment for obstacle clearing
- Claymore anti-personnel munitions
- Night vision devices
- Spare parts and other field equipment.
The US DoD highlighted that "the Kremlin's most recent air attacks against Ukraine's critical infrastructure again demonstrate the devastating impact of Russia's brutal war in Ukraine".
This package will provide additional NASAMS munitions and Avenger air defence systems, which the US hope will help Ukraine counter a range of short and medium-range threats and bolster their layered air defence.
The 59 Bradley IFVs included in this package, together with the 50 Bradleys previously committed on 6 January, and the 90 Stryker APCs will provide Ukraine with two brigades of armoured capability.
Since 2014, the US has committed more than $29.5bn in security assistance to Ukraine and more than $26.7bn since the beginning of Russia's invasion on 24 February last year.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked US President Biden for "another power defense support package".
He posted on Twitter: "Thank you POTUS for providing Ukraine with another powerful defense support package worth $2.5bn.
"Stryker IFVs, additional Bradley APCs, Avenger air defense systems are important help in our fight against the aggressor.
"Thank you US people for unwavering leadership support!"
"We have to speed up. Time must become our weapon"
President Zelensky has also urged western allies to speed up the delivery of military assistance, including badly needed heavy armour, to Ukraine in his country's struggle against the Russian invader.
In a remote address to defence ministers and military chiefs gathered at the US air base in Ramstein, Germany, Mr Zelensky thanked them for their previous support and urged them to make Friday's event a "Ramstein of tanks".
"I can thank you hundreds of times but hundreds of thank yous are not hundreds of tanks," he said.
"We have to speed up. Time must become our weapon, just like air defence and artillery, armoured vehicles and tanks which we are negotiating about with you and which will actually make a victory.
"The Kremlin must lose. You can start this policy today. It is in your power to make a Ramstein of tanks. Not to bargain about different numbers of tanks but to open (the) principle (of) supply that will stop Russian evil.
"It is in your power to make victory. Make your decisions hit accurately," he added.