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US approves $285 million sale of NASAMS air system, related equipment to Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS).

The United States has approved a $285 million sale of an air defense system and related equipment to Ukraine to bolster Kiev’s ability against Russia as the military conflict in the ex-Soviet nation enters its 15th month.

The administration of President Joe Biden approved the $285 million sale of a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) to Kiev on Thursday.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, part of the Department of Defense, also issued a statement, saying that Kiev urgently needs to increase its capabilities against Russian missile strikes and aircraft.

“Acquiring and effectively deploying this capability will enhance Ukraine’s ability to defend its people and protect critical national infrastructure,” it claimed.

It also noted that the sale will help Washington achieve its foreign policy and national security goals by “improving the security of a partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.”

NASAMS is manufactured as a joint venture between US-based Raytheon Technologies and Norway’s Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace. 

It is a distributed and networked short- to medium-range ground-based air defense system, designed to shoot down drones, helicopters, cruise missiles, and crewed fixed wing aircraft

Ukraine has already two such systems. The United States has committed to sending Ukraine a total of eight NASAMS systems.

The US and its Western allies have been providing Keiv with military equipment worth tens of billions of dollars since Russia began its military campaign in Ukraine in February last year.

Russia has repeatedly warned against flooding Ukraine with weapons, insisting the massive shipments of armaments to Kiev will only prolong the conflict.

Western weapons supplied to Kiev include advanced missile systems, armored vehicles, tanks, and communication systems.

Long-range attack drones have been also added to the list of Western weapons supplied to the Ukrainian forces fighting against Russian troops.

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