USD 2.5 billion aid sends Strykers, but no tanks, to Ukraine

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 20-01-2023 07:54 IST | Created: 20-01-2023 07:54 IST
USD 2.5 billion aid sends Strykers, but no tanks, to Ukraine
  • Country:
  • United States

The US will send 90 Stryker combat vehicles and an additional 59 Bradley fighting vehicles to Ukraine, in addition to hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, the Pentagon has announced. It is the latest aid package timed to help Ukraine push back against Russia's entrenched forward lines.

The package, valued at USD 2.5 billion, does not include tanks, which has become a point of contention as Germany has indicated it will not send its own Leopard tanks to Ukraine unless the US sends the Abrams. The US has said that the Abrams tank, which is propelled by a complex turbine engine similar to an aircraft jet engine, would not be a good fit for the current fight because of its frequent maintenance and fuelling needs.

The ammunition included in the package will replenish the US-supplied HIMARS rocket artillery systems, the NASAMS air defence systems, the Bradleys' 25 mm cannon and hundreds of tow missiles for the Bradleys' anti-tank weaponry. The package also includes eight additional Avenger air defence systems, 350 Humvees, 53 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPS, thousands of anti-armour rockets and an additional 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition.

The US is focused now on sending mechanised infantry support to help Kyiv's forces break through new Russian defensive lines in the fierce ground battle in eastern Ukraine, US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Colin Kahl told reporters Wednesday.

The more heavily armoured and tracked Bradleys and the medium-armoured Strykers will provide Ukraine ''with two brigades of armoured capability,'' the Pentagon said in a news release Thursday.

The Army operates more than 550 Strykers in a variety of configurations. The wheeled and armoured Stryker, being supplied to Ukraine for the first time, can be modified to provide medical evacuation or reconnaissance or serve as a nuclear, biological and chemical response vehicle, in addition to speeding infantry squadrons into a battle.

The two armoured vehicles serve different purposes. The Bradley brings more firepower, with its cannon and anti-tank missile launchers. The more lightly armoured Stryker, because it is wheeled, can move a lot faster on paved roads, meaning it can get infantry squadrons into the fight faster.

The additional air defence systems and ammunition are being sent to help Ukraine defend against the onslaught of Russian missile attacks against its civilian population, the Pentagon said, including a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro last weekend that left at least 45 dead, including children.

The USD 2.5 billion package is one of several recent multibillion-dollar announcements of aid for Ukraine as the US and allies rush heavy weapons to Kyiv in advance of an expected Russian spring offensive. The new aid package brings total US military assistance to Ukraine to USD 26.7 billion since Russia invaded in February.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Germany and will meet Friday with the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, representatives of about 50 countries that coordinate the weapons support.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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