Officials announced Thursday that the United States will send another $ 450 million in military aid to Ukraine, including some additional medium-range rocket systems, to help push back Russian progress in the war.
The latest package includes four high mobility artillery rocket systems or HiMars, which double the number they now have. The first four snowmen the US had previously sent to Ukraine were already in the hands of soldiers there.
According to the Pentagon, the aid includes 18 tactical vehicles used to pull the howitzer, so weapons can be moved around the battlefield, along with 18 coastal and river patrol boats, thousands of machine guns, grenade launchers and ammunition, and some other equipment and spare parts.
The new aid comes just a week after the US announced it would send $ 1 billion in military aid to Ukraine, and the Russian military continues to slowly expand its control in the eastern Donbas region. Ukrainian leaders have consistently asked for more advanced, accurate rocket systems to better fight Russia.
The Russian army seized two villages in eastern Ukraine on Thursday and is fighting for control of a major highway in a campaign to cut off supply lines and encircle Ukrainian troops, according to British and Ukrainian military officials.
Russian forces have been bombarding the city of Sevierodonetsk for weeks with artillery and air strikes and fighting the Ukrainian army’s home. Himarz gives Ukraine the ability to strike Russian troops and weapons from further afield, making it less dangerous for Ukrainian forces. The systems are mounted on trucks that carry a container of six precision-guided rockets that can travel about 45 miles (70 kilometers).
It took about three weeks to train Ukrainian troops in the first four Himar ,s, before the systems could be moved into combat.
The aid is part of a $ 40 billion security and financial aid passed by Congress last month and signed into law by President Joe Biden. And this is the 13th package of military weapons and equipment committed to Ukraine since the war began.
In total, since the war began in late February, the US has provided Ukraine with about $ 6.1 billion in security assistance, including this latest package. The $ 450 million equipment and weapons come from the Drawdown Authority, meaning the Defense Department will take everything from its own stocks and ship it to Ukraine.