US announces new $725m military assistance package for Ukraine

The United States will send Ukraine an additional $725m package of weapons and other military assistance, the White House has said, as Washington added to a flurry of aid announcements from European allies this week amid Russia’s renewed missile attacks on Kyiv and other targets.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Friday that the aid follows “in the wake of Russia’s brutal missile attacks on civilians across Ukraine”, and “the mounting evidence of atrocities by Russia’s forces”.

As Ukrainian “defenders push back Russia’s forces”, the US stands united with Ukraine, Blinken said later in a tweet.

Washington’s newest military package includes more ammunition for HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) and brings the total US military assistance to Ukraine to $18.3bn since the start of Joe Biden’s administration, the Department of Defence said in a separate statement.

The US has sent 20 HIMARS to Ukraine and has promised 18 more that would be delivered in the coming years. HIMARS have proven to be a critical weapon that has improved Ukraine’s ability to strike ammunition depots, bridges and other key targets that erode Russia’s ability to resupply troops.

Officials said the new US package is largely aimed at restocking thousands of rounds of ammunition for the weapons systems Ukraine has been successfully using in its counteroffensive against Russia, as the war stretches into its eighth month.