The United States announces a new arms package for Ukraine worth $1.2 billion. The package “reaffirms unwavering US support for Ukraine, strengthens its air defense and supports its artillery munitions needs,” reads a Pentagon statement explaining how the new weapons shipment includes air defense systems and artillery ammunition, especially 155mm for Howitzer systems.
Also included are ammunition for drone defense systems and funds for satellite imagery services and training. The package is funded by the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) which allows the Biden administration to purchase weapons to be sent from the war industry instead of taking them from US military arsenals.
Meanwhile the Great Britainwhich claims to be ahead of the allies in sending new weapon systems to Ukraine, now it appears ready to deliver long-range missiles to Kiev that the United States has long refused to send. This was revealed by the Washington Post. In a call for tenders published last week to the International Fund for Ukraine, a group of northern European countries which has set up a mechanism for sending weapons, the British Defense Ministry called for “expressions of interest” in the ‘sending missile with a range of over 300 kilometers.
British sources explain that however, the final decision has not yet been made, refusing to confirm the type and quantity of weapons being considered, nor the timing for delivery. But the tender notice appears to be a substantial step forward by London regarding the sending of this type of missile whose specifications and capabilities appear to correspond to the Storm Shadow missiles.
Kiev has long been asking the West to supply the long-range missiles that would allow it to change the course of the war, targeting Russian command centers, supply lines, ammunition and fuel depots inside the Crimea and of Russian-controlled territories in Donbass. An even more crucial capability now that the Ukrainians are preparing to launch the announced counter-offensive.
“Ukraine is ready to give every guarantee that your weapons will not be used in attacks on Russian territory”, declared the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in recent months, reiterating that with missiles capable of hitting beyond 300 kilometers, “the Russian army would be unable to defend itself and would be defeated.” Indeed, Storm Shadow missiles could be mounted on Soviet-made fighter jets in Ukraine and thus reach Russian territory.
In response to Moscow’s accusations of drone attacks on Russian territory, Kiev has so far responded by denying any responsibility but also claiming the right to strike Russian targets with its weapons. And it is precisely the fear that Kiev could use long-range missiles for operations of this type that has so far prompted Washington to reject the requests of the Ukrainians.