The Defense Department today announced a $2.5 billion military aid package for Ukraine that includes the transfer of hundreds of combat vehicles from U.S. stocks including Strykers, Bradleys and mine-resistant trucks as well as other weapons.
The package, funded via presidential “drawdown” authority, includes:
DOD said the 59 Bradleys included in this package, when combined with the 90 Strykers and the 50 Bradleys the United States previously committed, will provide Ukraine with “two brigades of armored capability.”
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl recently told reporters that the Ukraine war is moving into its “next phase” in which armored vehicles will be needed to confront Russian troops entrenched behind the front lines of battle.
The announcement of the new aid comes as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is meeting with NATO officials in Germany to discuss support for Ukraine and the contribution of future weapon systems.
Meanwhile, the United States continues to withhold Abrams tanks from Ukraine, despite a request from Kyiv and the stated intention of Germany to withhold delivery of its Leopard tank until U.S. tanks are pledged.
Kahl said the Abrams “may nor may not be the right system for Ukraine,” but stressed how demanding it is to maintain the system.
“I just don’t think we’re there yet,” he said. “The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It’s expensive, it’s hard to train on, it has a jet engine. I think it’s about three gallons to the mile with jet fuel. It is not the easiest system to maintain.”
The Pentagon said the latest aid package, along with including hundreds of combat vehicles, also contains additional support for Ukraine’s air defenses.
“The Kremlin’s most recent air attacks against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure again demonstrate the devastating impact of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine,” DOD said in a statement. “This package provides additional NASAMS munitions and Avenger air defense systems to help Ukraine counter a range of short and medium range threats and bolster Ukraine’s layered air defense.”
The United States has committed more than $26.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.