US providing Ukraine $1.2B in military aid ahead of expected spring offensive against Russia
The United States is planning to send Ukraine around $1.2 billion in long-term military aid to help the country defend itself against a barrage of drone, rocket, and surface-to-air missile attacks from Russia, according to U.S. officials.
The officials, who spoke anonymously, told The Associated Press that the aid package will likely be announced on Tuesday and the money will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
With this latest package, the U.S. will have provided Ukraine with nearly $37 billion in military aid since Russia invaded in late February 2022.
But unlike other equipment, weapons, and ammunition already sent from Pentagon stocks, the latest package is intended to be spent over the coming months or even years to ensure Ukraine's future security needs.
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The assistance initiative will fund HAWK air-defense systems, air-defense munitions, and drones for air defense. It will also buy artillery, rockets, satellite imagery assistance, and funding for ongoing maintenance and spare parts for various systems, according to the officials.
Polls in March showed support for further military aid to Ukraine dropping slowly and steadily in the U.S., challenging President Biden’s vow to support the regime for "as long as it takes."
Polls from the Associated Press, Pew Research and Fox News show rising skepticism toward the massive aid packages the Biden administration has made a habit of delivering to Ukraine. Support for such aid among Americans fell from 60% in May 2022 to just 48% today, according to the AP.
The share of Americans who say the U.S. has already given too much to Ukraine has risen from just 7% in March 2022 to 26% today, according to Pew.
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Ukraine, meanwhile, is preparing to launch a spring offensive against Russian forces, with air defense a persistent issue.
Ukraine's air defenses shot down 35 Iranian-made drones over Kyiv in Russia's latest nighttime assault, officials said Monday. Wreckage from a drone struck a two-story apartment building in Kyiv's western Svyatoshynskyi district, while other debris struck a car parked nearby, setting it on fire, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram post.
Russian shelling of 127 targets across northern, southern and eastern parts of Ukraine killed three civilians, the Ukrainian defense ministry said.
Facing economic sanctions and limits on its supply chains due to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has routinely turned to Iran's Shahed drones to bolster its firepower. And U.S. aid packages — including more immediate military weapons and support — have included systems to shoot down and otherwise defeat the drones.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.