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US announces new $1bn military assistance to Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced $1 billion in Washington’s support for Ukraine, which will include depleted uranium munitions for the first time, the media reported.

According to CNN, the munitions — which are mildly radioactive because they are made from dense metal, a byproduct from fuel production for nuclear power plants — can be fired from the US-made Abrams tanks that are expected to arrive in Ukraine later this year.

The package also includes air defence system components, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems for HIMARS, munitions, ammunition, and communications systems, the State Department said, adding that these weapons will come from Pentagon stocks.

In terms of long-term military support, the new package commits $100 million in military support, through the foreign military financing program, the Department said.

More than $200 million from the new package will also go towards support for transparency and reform; bolstering efforts on anti-corruption; rule of law; and the justice sector.

“The US will also use the funding for transparency-related efforts to direct funding towards Ukraine’s capacity to both investigate and prosecute war crimes; invest in reconstruction efforts; and strengthen the country’s financial management practices,” CNN quoted the Department as saying.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian assistance portion of the package totaling $206 million will go towards critical support including food, water, and shelter to those in Ukraine and those forced to flee to neighboring countries.

There will also be more than $90 million in humanitarian assistance specifically for demining, the Department said.

Addressing a news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev on Wednesday, Blinken said: “In the ongoing counteroffensive, progress has accelerated in the past few weeks. This new assistance will help sustain it and build further momentum.”

Later in the day, the Secretary of State also met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “to convey the US’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine and its people”. 

With the President, “I discussed longer-term sustainable security arrangements, which will provide ongoing security assistance and modern military equipment across land, air, sea and cyberspace, as well as training and intelligence share”, CNN quoted Blinken as saying.

“The State Department is leading these discussions, which will continue in the months ahead,” he added.

On his part, Zelensky said that he was “grateful to the American people, both parties of the US Congress, and personally to President Joe Biden for their unwavering support”.

“Ukrainian forces are advancing on the battlefield and we discussed steps to ensure their further successes.”

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