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As Russian President Vladimir Putin presided over a subdued Victory Day parade in Moscow on 9 May 2023, the US Department of Defense (US DoD) announced a new security assistance package to reaffirm its steadfast support for Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion of the country.

The USD 1.2 Bn (EUR 1.09 Bn) package, which is focused on bolstering Ukraine’s air defences and sustaining its artillery ammunitions needs, is being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).

“This USAI package underscores the continued US commitment to meeting Ukraine’s most urgent requirements by committing critical near-term capabilities, such as air defense systems and munitions, while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term,” the US DoD outlined in a press statement.

On 22 February 2023, in commemoration of Ukraine’s year-long fight against the Russian invasion, US and Ukrainian flags are hoisted at the Joint Force Headquarters in Sacramento, California.The California National Guard has a 30-year-long relationship with Ukraine through the State Partnership Program. (Photo: US ANG)

The latest package includes: additional air defence systems and munitions; equipment to integrate Western air defence launchers, missiles and radars with Ukraine’s air defence systems; ammunition for counter-unmanned aerial systems; 155 mm artillery rounds; commercial satellite imagery services; and support for training, maintenance and sustainment activities.

Unlike equipment provided via a Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which the US DoD has continued to leverage to deliver equipment to Ukraine from US military stocks, the USAI is an authority under which the materiel is procured direct from industry or other partners. This latest announcement thus represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine.

In total, the United States has committed more than USD 37.6 Bn in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration, including more than USD 36.9 Bn since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Peter Felstead