Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian leaders have asked Western leaders to give their country more advanced weapons, like the Patriots, to help it fight Russia. The Patriot would be the most advanced surface-to-air missile system the West has given to help defend against Russian air attacks.
There are also two other important things in the package. Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits, or JDAMs, will be sent to Ukraine at an unknown number. The U.S. will also pay for satellite communications terminals and services to protect Ukraine from a possible weakness. Musk said that his company could no longer afford to offer these services for free, so the U.S. would pay for them.
The kits will change big bombs by adding tail fins and precise navigation systems so they can be released and guided to a target instead of just being dropped from a fighter jet. The money for the satellites would be a safety net in case of Musk again said he would stop paying for them. Musk sent the first Starlink terminals to Ukraine just a few days after Russia invaded in February. In October, more than 2,200 low-orbiting satellites were giving Ukraine high-speed internet.
In October, he asked the Pentagon to pay for the costs of running Starlink in Ukraine. He also tweeted that it cost SpaceX $20 million a month to meet the country’s communications needs.
John Ferrari, a senior fellow and space expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said that the system has “changed the game” by making it possible for Ukraine’s military and infrastructure to keep running. Even though the funding announcement on Wednesday is for satellite communications terminals and services and doesn’t mention Musk’s company, Ferrari said it would be hard to put other systems on the battlefield because they often won’t work well together.
Even though Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that sending the advanced surface-to-air missile system would be seen as a provocation and that the Patriot and any crews that went with it would be fair game for Moscow’s military, the decision was made to send it anyway.
But the White House disagrees with the idea that giving Ukraine the Patriot means the U.S. is getting more involved in helping Ukraine. A senior administration official who spoke to reporters on anonymity said that Biden has made it clear that his administration will “lean forward” to help Ukraine but does not want to go to direct war with Russia.
Since U.S. troops will have to teach Ukrainian forces how to use the high-tech Patriot system, it’s unclear when it will arrive on the front lines in Ukraine. The training could take a few weeks and is likely to occur in Grafenwoehr, Germany. So far, the U.S. and the rest of the West have only trained Ukrainian forces in European countries.
More rockets for the HIMARS system, which stands for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, are also part of the aid package, as are 500 precision-guided artillery rounds for howitzers and 2,000 tons of food. Thirty mortar systems and 10,000 mortar rounds; 37 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles; 120 Humvees; six armored trucks; more than 2,700 grenade launchers and other weapons; an unknown number of HARM air-to-surface anti-radiation missiles; Claymore anti-personnel mines; demolition munitions and other equipment and body armor.
The Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which pays for long-term purchases, will pay for more than 200,000 rounds of different kinds of ammunition, satellite systems, and training and maintenance that will go on all the time.
This is the 28th time that the Pentagon has taken weapons off the shelf to send to Ukraine quickly. The guns often get to Europe and the war within a few days. Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the U.S. has given about $21.3 billion in military aid and equipment.
Congress is about to pass a massive spending bill that includes $44.9 billion more in aid for Ukraine. This help comes at the same time. This would ensure that the U.S. will keep helping even after the Republicans take over the House in January. Some Republicans in Congress aren’t sure about the help.
The Biden administration said Wednesday that it would give Ukraine $1.85 billion in military aid. The money will go toward a Patriot missile battery. The news came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington on his first known trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February.
The White House announced just hours before Zelenskyy landed at Joint Base Andrews, just outside the capital. The package includes $1 billion worth of weapons and equipment from the Pentagon, including the Patriot battery for the first time, and $850 million in funding through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. Part of the USAI will be used to pay for a satellite communications system, which will probably include Elon Musk’s important SpaceX Starlink satellite network.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, “As Russia continues its brutal attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, the U.S. welcomes President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Washington, D.C. today to show our enduring commitment to the people of Ukraine.” Blinken also said that the U.S. will provide “critical new and additional military capabilities to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s ongoing brutal and unprovoked attack.”
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