US hails ‘success’ in Ukraine and releases new aid

US hails ‘success’ in Ukraine and releases new aid

The United States will provide Ukraine with new military aid worth $675 million, the Secretary of Defense announced Thursday, praising the allies’ “success” on the “battlefield.”

The announcement was made Thursday morning by US Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Ramstein US base in Germany, where Kiev’s allies are meeting to coordinate their support.

This new American aid includes, in particular, guided multiple-launch rocket systems called GMLRS, “105mm howitzers, artillery shells as well as Humvees, armored ambulances, anti-tank systems, small arms and more,” Mr. Austin explains at length to the press.

Other countries, including Germany, are also expected to announce new aid during the day.

Those supplies are bearing fruit locally, Mr. Austin assured. “Today we see the clear success of our joint efforts on the battlefield,” he said.

– “good news” –

“Every day we see the resolve of allies and partners around the world helping Ukraine resist Russia’s illegal, imperial and untenable war of conquest,” Austin said.

This fifth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, hosted by the US minister, is intended to show the “unity and solidarity” of Ukraine’s allies, according to US Chief of Staff General Mark Milley.

Representatives from more than 40 countries and international organizations meet there, in particular to discuss the challenges that the conflict poses to armaments production.

“Ammunition consumption is very important in this war in Ukraine,” General Milley told journalists accompanying him.

The goal is “to try to identify demand and demand and then compare that to supply, whether that’s what countries have in stock or what the defense industry can produce,” he said, adding he added on the plane brought him from Washington.

Artillery is crucial in conflict. The Ukrainian and Russian armies, particularly hungry for projectiles of all kinds, are waging a war of ammunition attrition, supplies of which are vital.

Ukraine has been conducting a counter-offensive in the south of its territory since last week, and President Zelenskyy has repeatedly reiterated his intention to retake “all areas under Russian occupation”, including Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014.

He reported on Thursday evening “good news from the Kharkiv region”, referring to “places where the Ukrainian flag has returned”.

Ukraine has used up all of its Russian-made weapons and its defense is now entirely dependent on Western military aid.

Russia, for its part, has approached North Korea to buy large quantities of missiles and artillery shells, according to Washington.

– Not a big range –

The United States, the first supplier of military aid to Ukraine, pledged in August to provide $13.5 billion worth of various weapons, notably Javelin anti-tank missiles, artillery pieces and shells compatible with NATO artillery systems.

Kyiv would like long-range ATACMS-type weapons capable of hitting at 300 km, but the United States opposes this, fearing that these missiles will target targets on Russian territory, which could lead to a widening of the conflict.

The United States alone provides three quarters of the shells to NATO standards, emphasized US staff spokesman Colonel Dave Butler.

“More than 10 countries in the Contact Group are providing 155mm caliber artillery pieces, and 15 countries are donating 155mm ammunition,” he said.

All arms donations to Ukraine are calculated in such a way that the military capabilities of donor countries are not weakened, but stocks of ammunition must be able to be regularly replenished, hence the need to revive defense industry production, the spokesman explained.

“US shipments of ammunition to Ukraine are not specifically tied to the annual production capacity of a particular armament of the US defense industry, but this production capacity is one of the factors considered,” he concluded.


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