Pentagon in ‘constant communication’ with Ukraine as new aid details emerge
The Department of Defense and Ukrainian defense leaders are in “constant communication,” spokesman John Kirby said on Friday while declining to provide details ahead of the drawdown package.
The United States has provided Ukraine with nearly $4 billion worth of military aid since Russia invaded roughly three months ago, though there are reports that it could step up the weapons it’s providing in the tranche.
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Ukrainian leaders, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have urged the U.S. to provide them with the multiple launch rocket system. That’s a U.S.-made weapons system that fires a barrage of rockets hundreds of miles, farther than the weapons the U.S. has provided so far. Ukraine has also asked for the high mobility artillery rocket system, which is a similar but lighter-wheeled system capable of firing the same ammunition.
The department is “preparing to” provide the Ukrainians with the weapons, CNN reported on Thursday, while Politico came out with a similar report a day later adding that neither President Joe Biden nor Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved the latest aid package.
“I won’t get ahead of decisions that haven’t been made yet, but we are in constant communication with them. And our goal from the very beginning has been to try to help them in the fight that they’re in today,” Kirby said on Friday.
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“We knew when Russia decided to focus on the eastern part of the country and that Donbas region that it was going to be an artillery, a long-range fires kind of fight,” he added. “It has proven to be that.”