A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle drone system is prepared for launch at Al Asad, Iraq 04032020 CREDIT US Dept of Def.PNG
A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle drone system here prepared for launch at Al Asad, Iraq in 2020 (Picture: US Department of Defense).
USA

US announces new military aid and drones for Ukraine

A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle drone system is prepared for launch at Al Asad, Iraq 04032020 CREDIT US Dept of Def.PNG
A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle drone system here prepared for launch at Al Asad, Iraq in 2020 (Picture: US Department of Defense).

The US has said it will give Ukraine Scan Eagle surveillance drones, mine-resistant vehicles, anti-armour rounds and howitzer weapons to help regain territory and mount a counter-offensive against Russian invaders.

A senior defence official told reporters that a new $775m aid package will include 15 Scan Eagles, 40 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles known as MRAPs with mine-clearing rollers, and 2,000 anti-armour rounds that can help Ukraine troops move forward in the south and east, where Russian forces have placed mines.

The official said the US is looking to help shape and arm the Ukrainian force of the future.

This latest aid comes as Russia's war on Ukraine is about to reach the six-month mark. It brings the total US military aid to Ukraine to about $10.6bn since the beginning of the Biden administration.

It is the 19th time the Pentagon has provided equipment from Defence Department stocks to Ukraine since August 2021.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a tweet, said the US continues to stand with Ukraine and its "brave defenders".

Mr Blinken added that the $775m drawdown of arms and equipment he directed for Ukraine's defence was from "US military stockpiles".

The US has provided howitzer ammunition in the past, but this is the first time it will send 16 of the weapon systems.

The aid package also includes 1,500 anti-tank missiles, 1,000 Javelin missiles and an undisclosed number of high-speed, anti-radiation or HARM missiles that target radar systems.

The Ukrainian forces have been successfully using various precision artillery systems to try and hold off Russian forces and take back territory Moscow has gained.

The defence official briefed reporters on the aid of the new weapons on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Defence Department.

In a tweet, Ukrainian Defence Secretary Oleksii Reznikov thanked US President Joe Biden for the most recent US package of support.