PENTAGON — The United States is providing up to $250 million in additional military aid for Ukraine in a package that includes more rockets for HIMARS and AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles that can be used to defend Ukrainian skies.
This is the first time the U.S. has provided Ukraine with Sidewinders, which can be used for short range, air-to-air attacks.
The aid also includes mine-clearing equipment and anti-tank weapons such as TOW missiles and shoulder-fired Javelins.
The latest aid package marks the 45th authorized presidential drawdown of military equipment from Defense Department inventories since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Once again, long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems known as ATACMS were not included in the package, drawing criticism from analysts such as retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who served as the commanding general for U.S. Army forces in Europe from 2014 to 2017.
“Unfortunately, the Ukrainians are going to continue to suffer a lot of casualties because we, the West, have not provided capabilities that they need,” Hodges told VOA on Tuesday. “And I’m talking specifically about long-range precision weapons.”
Moscow began a renewed offensive in Ukraine earlier this year that has stalled.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has characterized the current counteroffensive against Russian forces as slow but steady, with Ukrainian forces inserting reserve troops and breaking through some elements of Russian forces’ southeastern defensive lines this month.
“Ukraine continues to get after it and fight,” Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder told VOA in a briefing at the Pentagon last Thursday. “They are making some progress along the front line, but it’s going to be tough.”