By DoD News
By Joseph Clark
The Defense Department announced Friday an additional security assistance package of up to $800 million aimed at providing key capabilities to support Ukraine’s counteroffensive operations and defend against Russia’s war of aggression.
The package includes additional munitions for U.S.-provided Patriot air defense systems and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems as Ukraine continues its push to reclaim territory seized by Russian forces.
The package also contains additional artillery systems and ammunition, including dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, or DPICM, which the Pentagon is providing for the first time to Ukraine after extensive consultation with Congress and U.S. allies.
The newly fielded munitions, which will be drawn from Defense Department stocks, are designed to disperse submunitions from the air, allowing Ukraine to target broad swaths of entrenched Russian troops and equipment.
In announcing the latest package, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin H. Kahl said the Pentagon is providing the new capability to Ukraine in order to meet the “urgency of the moment” as Ukrainians continue their counteroffensive.
“This is to make sure that the Ukrainians have the confidence that they have what they need, but frankly also that the Russians know that Ukrainians are going to stay in the game,” he said.
Kahl noted that, with the announcement, the U.S. will be able to immediately provide Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of rounds of artillery at a critical time in the offensive.
“This decision will ensure we can sustain our support for Ukraine by bringing us to a point where we are producing sufficient artillery ammunition on a monthly basis across the coalition,” he said.
In reaching the decision, the Pentagon heavily weighed the potential risk the rounds could pose to the civilian population in areas where the rounds are deployed.
The specific rounds that are being fielded have been assessed to have a dud rate, or rate of unexploded submunitions released from each round, of 2.35%.
The Pentagon is also working with Ukraine to minimize the risks associated with the munitions.
Ukrainian officials have provided the U.S. with written assurances that they will employ the capability responsibly, and that they will not use the rounds in civilian-populated urban environments.
Ukraine has also committed to mine clearing efforts once the conflict ends to further minimize the potential impact of the rounds on civilians.
The U.S. has provided more than $95 million in assistance for Ukraine’s demining efforts.
The latest round of assistance marks the 42nd drawdown of equipment from DOD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.
The Biden administration has committed more than $41.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
“For the past year and a half, President Biden has been clear that we will support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Kahl said.
“Throughout the Kremlin’s vicious war of choice, the Ukrainian forces have effectively leveraged assistance and shown outstanding bravery and skill,” he said. “Ukraine’s fight is a marathon, not a sprint. So we will continue to provide Ukraine with the urgent capabilities that it needs to meet the moment, as well as what it needs to keep itself secure for the long term from Russian aggression.”