The US military will ship an additional $300 million in war-fighting equipment to Ukraine that includes laser-guided missiles and drones, Defense Department's Press Secretary John Kirby has declared.
“This decision underscores the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in support of its heroic efforts to repel Russia’s war of choice,” Kirby claimed in a Friday press release, noting that the pentagon is providing the military hardware under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
He added that the new package of assistance for Ukraine includes laser-guided rocket systems, Switchblade tactical drones that in some cases are capable of taking out armored vehicles, Puma drones for surveillance and intelligence gathering, small and large caliber ammunition, night-vision devices, machine guns, communications equipment, medical supplies and other items.
The US has so far provided over $2.3 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since Russia launched its military operation in the country last month after Kiev and its US-led Western sponsors refused to provide security guarantees demanded by Moscow.
Under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, supplies and equipment are procured directly from US-based military industry contractors rather than drawing from Defense Department stocks, Kirby further underlined.
This is while a number of Republican lawmakers have slammed the Biden administration for taking too long to ship war-fighting equipment to Ukraine, claims the Pentagon rejected earlier in the week.
Virginia Congressman Rob Wittman chided top military leaders that deliveries were not being made fast enough during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Kirby disputed that notion during his press briefing on Thursday, insisting that the first delivery of an $800 million military aid package approved by US President Joe Biden on March 16 arrived in Ukraine four days later.
That entire package should be fully delivered by mid-April, Kirby added.
Biden signed a government spending bill last month that approved $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, while some members of the Senate demanded the US spend even more to assist Kiev.
Russia's military operation in Ukraine began in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military alliance. Kiev, however, insists that the Russian offensive was totally unprovoked and has denied reports that it was planning to retake the two republics by force.