The Biden administration has decided to boost its assistance for Ukraine by announcing on Friday that it will be sending the war-hit country an additional $275 million worth of aid to help in bolstering Ukraine’s defenses as the Russian invasion enters its ninth month.
According to United States Department of Defense spokesperson Sabrina Singh, the package will consist of HIMARS rocket system ammunition, 2,000 155mm howitzer rounds, 155 Humvee tactical vehicles, 500 precision-guided artillery rounds, remote anti-armor mine systems, over 2.75 million rounds of small arms ammunition and more than 1,300 shoulder-mounted multipurpose assault weapons.
The latest package, unlike the 23 others provided before by the US, will also comprise military satellite communication antennas that will connect with Ukrainian troops if Russian forces attack civilian sites and infrastructure, the New York Post reported. “These just help improve communications capabilities on the battlefield,” Singh said. “I mean, we’re seeing Ukrainian infrastructure and electrical grids being targeted by the Russians and these antennas provide an additional capability on the ground at a critical time when Ukraine’s infrastructure has been hit,” she added.
US, Starlink come to Ukraine’s aid amid war
The Pentagon’s package comes days after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that his Starlink satellite systems will be unable to operate in Ukraine unless the US government takes over the costs. However, with a change of heart, Musk later said that Starlink will continue to run for free in the war-hit country.
“The hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free,” Musk said in a tweet on October 16. However, Singh has claimed that the SATCOM antennas “are not intended to serve as a substitute for a service like Starlink.” “These SATCOM antennas are going to provide additional communications capabilities to the Ukrainians at a critical time but are separate from what Starlink provides,” she said.
With the latest package, the United States has provided more than $18.5 billion total worth of assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24, 2022. As of late, Russia has actively targeted Ukraine’s critical energy units, causing blackouts across the nation and a scarcity of energy resources.