US expected to announce $2.6bln military package to Ukraine on Monday
The new military aid comes despite increased warnings lately that the US is close to nearing an alarmingly low level of weapon stocks.
The United States is expected to announce on Monday a new military aid to Ukraine worth $2.6 billion, Reuters reported on Friday.
The new arms package might include radars for air surveillance, anti-tank missile systems, and fuel trucks. Around six different types of ammunition, including tank ammo and NASAMS rounds (air defense system), are also expected to be included in the list that could be finalized this weekend, three US officials told the news outlet speaking on condition of anonymity, adding however that the worth of the aid and some equipment could be changed till then.
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Precision-guided munitions, crossing and bridging equipment to facilitate maneuvers for Ukrainian vehicles, and military recovery vehicles that are used to tow damaged military hardware and tanks are also being considered for the package.
Around $2.1 billion from the aid package will be funded by Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) used to purchase weapons directly from manufacturers rather than from US army stocks.
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The remaining $500 million will be allocated from Presidential Drawdown Authority funds which allow the supply of weapons from US army stocks during a state of emergency.
Earlier in February, the US approved a security package to Ukraine amounting to $460 million.
The military aid included more ammunition for US-made equipment that already made it to Ukraine, as well as new equipment units, such as HIMARS and Howitzers rounds, Javelins, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars.
Also included were 155mm artillery rounds, 120mm mortar rounds, approximately 2,000 anti-armor missiles, and four Bradley Infantry Fire Support Team vehicles, spare parts, and other field equipment, the Pentagon stated then.
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US munitions in danger
In December 2022, researchers of the Foreign Policy Research Institute argued that "ammunition availability might be the single most important factor that determines the course of the war in 2023, and that will depend on foreign stockpiles and production."
Seth Jones of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) assesses that the munition stockpiles that the US has been export-funneling to Ukraine have steadily decreased since the outbreak of the war.
The American military has lost a significant bulk of its artillery shells and other "sophisticated" weapons, The New York Times reported last week. "[Americans are] watching stocks of some key weapons dwindle "as a result of "industry consolidation, depleted manufacturing lines, and supply chain issues," a report by the Times read.
The newspaper warned that the US has consumed its military in a proxy conflict in Europe when many US officials warmonger in anticipation of a potential conflict with China. However, sustaining the conflict in Ukraine is still a priority for the West.
The US has been one of the most steadfast supporters of Kiev since the outbreak of the war with Russia. In May 2022, the US Senate approved a $40 billion Ukraine supplies package, including more than $20 billion in military funding. Additionally, back in February, the US announced its intentions to dedicate $9.9 billion of its budget in support of Ukraine. Now in light of the reported audacious change in the US strategy, the threshold for escalation will be raised significantly.