US to keep providing air defenses systems to Ukraine: Sullivan
The United States pledges to continue supporting Ukraine with air defense systems as Russia continues conducting air strikes on Kiev's territories.
The United States and its allies will continue supporting Ukraine in terms of air defense supplies in light of the renewed Russian missile strikes on the country earlier on Tuesday, White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
"The United States and our allies and partners will continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself, including air defense systems," Sullivan said in a press release on Tuesday. "We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes."
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia launched 85 missile strikes that mostly targeted energy facilities, claiming that around 20 more strikes were expected.
The US Defense Department has said that it provided National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to Ukraine earlier this month, saying they were already operational.
The Biden administration approved another $400 million security assistance package for Ukraine last week that includes missiles for HAWK air defense systems, four Avenger air defense systems, and 192 Stinger missiles.
"Some of the capabilities include funding to refurbish Hawk air defense missiles for inclusion in future presidential drawdown packages, 45 refurbished T-72 tanks with advanced optics, communications, and armor packages, 1,100 Phoenix Ghost tactical unmanned aerial systems, 40 armored Riverine boats, and funding to refurbish 250 M1117 armored security vehicles," US Department of Defense spokesperson Sabrina Singh said.
The United States announced on October 28 a $275 million military assistance package for Ukraine, including HIMARS launchers, ammunition, and 155mm artillery rounds; two NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems) were also to be delivered to Ukrainian soldiers once they complete their training on the systems.
Congress to include Ukraine aid in year-end work
The US Congress will likely include aid to Ukraine as part of its effort to fund Kiev's government and avoid a shutdown before December 16, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said on Tuesday.
"It is certainly the case that we have to make sure we arrive at a year-end spending agreement to continue to fund the priorities of the American people," Jeffries said during a press conference. "I expect that additional funding for Ukraine will be part of any year-end agreement."
Pentagon Spokesperson Patrick Ryder last Tuesday told a press conference that the Ukrainian military had just finished training on the NASAMS air defense system.
Ryder told reporters, "They did recently complete that training," indicating that Ukraine had received the two NASAMS it had been promised in July.
When asked, Ryder refused to reveal where the training was conducted.
Amid its confrontation with Russia, the US has given Ukraine a total of 8 NASAMS systems. According to authorities from the Pentagon, the delivery of the remaining six air defense systems is not anticipated to happen anytime soon.
Read next: All set: NASAMS delivered and deployed, Ukrainian soldiers trained
The NASAMS is a short-to-medium-range ground-based air defense system that can be used against helicopters, cruise missiles, and aircraft.