The United States is providing another $ 800 million in military aid to Ukraine, including heavy weapons

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced an additional $ 800 million in military aid to Ukraine, expanding the scope of organizations including heavy artillery in the run-up to the expected widespread Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine. read more

Biden said in a statement after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr that the package, which would bring in more than $ 2.5 billion in total military aid since the Russian occupation in February, included artillery systems, artillery shells, armored personnel and unmanned Coast Guard boats. Zhelensky.

Biden said the equipment provided to Ukraine was “important” in the face of the Ukraine invasion and approved the replacement of additional helicopters.

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“We can not rest now. As I promised President Zhelensky, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their struggle for independence,” Fiden said in a statement.

The new package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters that were earmarked for Afghanistan before the fall of the US-backed government last year. It includes 18 155 mm howitzers, 40,000 rounds of artillery, anti-artillery radars, 200 armored carriers and 300 additional “switchblade” drones.

This is the first time the US has provided howitzers to Ukraine.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some organizations, such as howitzers and radars, would require more training for Ukrainian forces that are not accustomed to using US military equipment.

“We know about the clock and we know time is not our friend,” Kirby said when asked about the speed of deliveries.

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‘Larger, more powerful weapons’

US President Joe Biden discussed the US response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and warned CEOs of possible cyber-attacks from Russia on March 21, 2022 at the quarterly meeting of the CEO of the Business Roundtable in Washington, DC. REUTERS / Leah Millis

The new aid – first announced by Reuters on Tuesday – will be funded using the Presidential Troop Commission or the PDA, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of articles and services from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency. read more

John Spencer, a retired U.S. Army major and urban war expert at the Madison Policy Forum, said he was pleased to see the United States sending artillery and artillery shells.

“You need these bigger, more powerful weapons to match what Russia is bringing to capture eastern Ukraine,” Spencer said.

Amid reports of recent security assistance, top executives of US arms manufacturers have met with Pentagon officials to discuss industrial challenges in the event of a protracted conflict in Ukraine.

These include executives at PAE Systems PLC (BAES.L)General Dynamics Corp. (GTN)Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT.N)Huntington Ingles Industries (HII.N)L3Harris Technologies (LHX.N)Boeing Co. (BA.N)Raytheon Technologies Corp. (RTX.N) And Northrop Krumman Corp. (Night).

Pentagon spokesman Eric Bahon said in a statement: “The focus is primarily on accelerating production and building greater capacity on the industrial platform for weapons and equipment that can be exported quickly, with less training, and be useful on the battlefield.”

Zelenskiy has appealed to US and European leaders to provide heavy weapons and equipment. The seven-week invasion has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Russia has failed to achieve most of its military targets as Ukrainians have expressed stronger opposition than expected.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” to destroy Ukraine’s military capabilities and seize what it considers dangerous nationalists, but Ukraine and the West say Russia has launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

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On Wednesday, Russia said it had captured the southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol and that more than 1,000 Ukrainian sailors had surrendered.

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Report by Patricia Zengerle, Idrees Ali and Mike Stone; Additional report by Humeyra Pamuk, Doina Chiacu and Temis Tormo; Editing by Mary Milligan, Will Dunham, Grant McCoul and Cynthia Asterman

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