A United States official said President Joe Biden’s administration will soon announce a $1.8 billion military aid package to Kiev, which for the first time will include a battery of Patriot missiles and precision-guided bombs for Ukrainian fighter jets. President Vladimir Zelensky can visit Washington.
US officials spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday to describe the details of the aid package, the Associated Press reported.
On Wednesday, the media, citing unnamed sources, also reported that Zelensky may travel to Washington to meet Biden and visit the US Congress. Zelensky’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the trip, and security concerns could still force the Ukrainian leader to change his plans, a source told Reuters news agency.
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said in an email earlier on Tuesday that there will be a session of Congress on Wednesday night that will “pay very special attention to democracy”, further strengthening speculation that the Ukrainian president will visit the US capital.
The $1.8 billion aid package to be announced by Biden, according to the AP, signals an expansion of the types of advanced weapons the United States is sending to Ukraine to bolster the country’s air defenses against a growing barrage of Russian missile attacks.
The package, to be announced Wednesday, according to the AP, will include about $1 billion in weapons from the Pentagon and another $800 million in funding through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which funds weapons, ammunition, training and other aid. , the officials said.
The Biden administration’s decision to deploy the Patriot missile system comes despite Russian threats that the delivery of such an advanced surface-to-air missile battery would be considered a provocative move and that the system, and its crew, would be a legitimate target. Military of Moscow.
It is unclear when the Patriot will arrive on the front lines in Ukraine, and US forces must also train Ukrainians to use the high-tech system. That training could take several weeks and is expected to take place at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany.
All the training of the Ukrainian forces by the USA and Western allies took place in European countries.
The expected announcement of the aid package comes as the US Congress prepares to approve another $44.9 billion in aid to Ukraine as part of a significant spending bill. That would ensure US support for Kiev continues next year and beyond, as Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.
Some Republican politicians have expressed caution about the amount of US aid to Ukraine.
The soon-to-be-announced package will also include an undisclosed number of Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, officials said.
The kits will be used to modify the bombs, adding tail fins and precision navigation systems so that instead of just being dropped on a target from a fighter, they can be guided to the target at launch.
American fighters and bombers use JDAMs, and the Pentagon is working to modify them for use by the Ukrainian Air Force.
Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have pressed Western leaders to provide more advanced weaponry, particularly for air defense, and the Patriot would be the most advanced surface-to-air missile system the West has given Ukraine to help repel Russian airstrikes. :
Reluctance to supply high-tech weapons
Washington does not want to provide Ukraine with American fighter jets, and Moscow has warned that the advanced jets would also be considered provocative.
Instead of providing aircraft to Ukraine, the Pentagon is helping Kiev find innovative ways to upgrade its existing fleet with the latest capabilities available to American fighters.
The soon-to-be-announced aid package will also include an undisclosed number of missiles for the High Mobility Artillery Missile System, thousands of artillery and mortar shells, trucks and HARM air-to-surface anti-radiation missiles.
According to officials, urgent requests from Kiev and the devastating destruction of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, including the loss of electricity and heat during the winter, eventually overwhelmed US reservations to supply the Patriots.
French President Emmanuel Macron also said on Tuesday that France has delivered more air defense missile systems and other weapons to Ukraine and will send more early next year.
“In recent days, France has sent Ukraine more weapons, rocket launchers, Crotale (air defense batteries), equipment that went beyond what we had already done,” Macron told French TV TF1 and LCI.
“We are also working with the Minister of Armed Forces [Sebastien Lecornu] in the first quarter again to deliver useful weapons and ammunition [of 2023] so that Ukrainians can protect themselves from bombings,” he said.
Planned future deliveries include new Caesar mobile artillery units, but Macron did not provide specific numbers.
The French president said the number “will depend” on the outcome of ongoing discussions with Denmark, which ordered the Caesar guns from France and may agree to hand over at least some of them to Kiev.
Since the Russian invasion in February, France has sent Ukraine 18 Caesar units and a 155 mm howitzer mounted on a six-wheeled truck chassis, capable of firing at a range of more than 40 km (25 miles).
Macron said he had two “red lines” when it came to arms supplies. that it did not affect France’s ability to defend itself and did not make Paris an accomplice in the war.
The weapons should “enable Ukraine to defend itself” against a relentless onslaught of Russian missiles and drones, he said.
Paris has also already delivered anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as armored personnel carriers.