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US approves fresh $675m military aid package for Ukraine, with war at ‘key moment’

Washington has provided Kyiv with more than $14 billion in security assistance since January; new tranche to include howitzers, Humvees, anti-tank systems

Pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine are loaded by the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (AP/Alex Brandon)
Pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine are loaded by the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (AP/Alex Brandon)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that President Joe Biden has approved additional military aid to Ukraine worth up to $675 million, an announcement that came as he rallied allies to renew their commitment to Ukrainian military support “for the long haul.”

Austin said at the start of a meeting with senior officials from allied countries at the United States’ Ramstein Air Base in Germany that Biden had approved the latest tranche of US assistance on Wednesday.

He said that the package includes howitzers, artillery munitions, Humvees, armored ambulances, anti-tank systems and more.

Austin said that “the war is at another key moment,” with Ukrainian forces beginning their counteroffensive in the south of the country. He said that “now we’re seeing the demonstrable success of our common efforts on the battlefield.”

“The face of the war is changing and so is the mission of this contact group,” Austin told the meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which was attended by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukraine’s defense minister as well as officials from allied countries.

“We will work together to train Ukraine’s forces for the long haul. We will work together to help integrate Ukraine’s capabilities and bolster its joint operations for the long haul,” he said.

A Ukrainian soldier fires on the front line in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, September 3, 2022. (Kostiantyn Liberov/AP)

“We will work together to upgrade our defense industrial basis to meet Ukraine’s requirements for the long haul, and we will work together for production and innovation to meet Ukraine’s self-defense needs for the long haul.”

“We must evolve as the fight evolves,” Austin said.

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