Lauren C. Moye, FISM News
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced a new $2 billion security assistance package for Ukraine yesterday.
The package will provide new air defense systems, armored infantry vehicles, and new munitions like the Javelin anti-tank missiles and long-range HIMARS rockets.
Altogether, the supplies will total $425 million from a drawdown of military reserves and $1.75 billion from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds.
“In total, the United States has now committed $30 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration. Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $32 billion in security assistance to Ukraine and more than $29.3 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked, full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022,” the Pentagon press release reads.
The USAI supplies mark a turning point in the U.S.’s relationship with Ukraine. This marks the start of a contracting process with industry to provide new equipment rather than sending supplies from U.S. military stockpiles.
Moscow has pushed back against the supply of the weapons, which includes longer-range missiles than previously provided.
“We see how the whole of NATO is waging war against us,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday, responding to reports that the DOD was preparing a new defense package.
He continued, “We’re now seeking to push back Ukrainian army artillery to a distance that will not pose a threat to our territories.”
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned the supplies will only result in more bloodshed and increased strikes from Russia.
“All of Ukraine that remains under Kyiv’s rule will burn,” Medvedev said. The former president warned weapons would be used up to the extent of Russia’s nuclear doctrine.
When asked if the longer-range weapons being provided would encourage negotiations, Medvedev replied that it would not.
“The result will be just the opposite,” Medvedev replied. “Only moral freaks, of which there are enough both in the White House and in the Capitol, can argue like that.”
The comments were captured by journalist Nadana Fridrikhson, who posted her interview with Medvedev to her Telegram account.
Fighting over the eastern city of Bakhmut remains intense. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to hold onto the city for as long as possible.
“Nobody will give away Bakhmut. We will fight for as long as we can. We consider Bakhmut our fortress,” he said on Friday.
Moscow has claimed they are encircling the city. They have also stated they aim to control an important Ukrainian supply route.
However, Zelenskyy said that there was no reason to lose the city if weapon supplies were accelerated to provide long-range weapons. This would also allow Ukraine to strike at all Russian supply routes currently in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense said earlier today that the Russian military had “formally integrated occupied areas of Ukraine into its Southern Military District,” according to the Russian state-owned news agency TASS.
“The move highlights that the Russian military likely aspires to integrate newly occupied territory into a long-term strategic posture. However, it is unlikely to have an immediate impact on the campaign – Russia currently deploys forces from across all of Russia’s military districts, commanded by an ad hoc deployed headquarters,” the report reads.