Pentagon unveils new Ukraine weapons package amid Russian offensive

Pentagon unveils new Ukraine weapons package amid Russian offensive

For the fourth time since a $95 billion foreign aid bill passed this April, the Pentagon is sending a package of weapons to Ukraine.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the aid, valued at $275 million, “will provide Ukraine additional capabilities to meet its most urgent battlefield needs, such as: additional precision strike rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS); artillery rounds; air-launched munitions; and anti-tank weapons.”

The tranche will arrive in a moment of precarity for Kyiv. This month, Russia began a new offensive around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which sits near the eastern border.

CQ Brown, America’s top military officer, said in a press conference this week that Moscow’s goal was to ”establish a shallow buffer zone” on that border and force Kyiv to decide which areas along the more than 600-mile front to defend.

This package, like two of the other ones since April, will draw down American stockpiles and send them directly to Ukraine. The method is faster than the massive $6 billion batch of long-term aid announced last month, which depending on the weapon could take years to arrive.

In another interview hosted by the Atlantic Council this week, Brown said the U.S. was providing Ukraine with a “constant flow of capability” and would focus on what “Ukraine tells us they need.”

Most recently, that hasn’t been a piece of hardware but a way to use the kit already provided. Ukraine has been campaigning to use American-donated weapons — such as the longer-range ATACMS missile — to strike into Russian territory.

The U.S. is reportedly considering whether to change its policy, which does not permit its weapons to be fired across the border. In the press conference, Brown said he was confident that Ukraine hadn’t used ATACMS to fire inside Russia.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, speaking beside him, predicted that American policy will stay the same.

“Their focus ought to be on the close fight,” Austin said of Ukraine.

Noah Robertson is the Pentagon reporter at Defense News. He previously covered national security for the Christian Science Monitor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and government from the College of William & Mary in his hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia.

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