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U.S. pledges $820M in Ukraine aid, including missile systems as Russia’s war drags on

Click to play video: 'Biden announces additional $800M in military aid for Ukraine' Biden announces additional $800M in military aid for Ukraine
WATCH ABOVE: Biden announces additional $800M in military aid for Ukraine – Jun 30, 2022

The U.S. announced on Friday that it will provide Ukraine with $820 million in new military aid, including new surface-to-air missile systems and counter-artillery radars to respond to Russia’s heavy reliance on long-range strikes in the war.

Russia in recent days has launched dozens of missiles across Ukraine and pinned down Ukrainian forces with continuous fire for sometimes hours at a time. Ukraine’s leaders have publicly called on Western allies to quickly send more ammunition and advanced systems that will help them narrow the gap in equipment and manpower.

All told, the U.S. has committed more than $8.8 billion in weapons and military training to Ukraine, whose leaders have sought more help from Western allies to repel larger and heavily equipped Russian forces. About $7 billion of that aid has been announced since Russia’s February invasion.

Read more: Canadian fighting in Ukraine pleads for more equipment

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“We are going to support Ukraine as long as it takes,” President Joe Biden said this week at a press conference during the NATO summit in Madrid. He argued that Russia had already suffered a blow to its international standing and major damage to its economy from Western sanctions imposed over the invasion.

The U.S. is giving Ukrainians “the capacity” so that “they can continue to resist the Russian aggression,” Biden said. “And so I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.”

As part of the new package, the U.S. will purchase two systems known as NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system that is used to protect the airspace around the White House and Capitol in Washington. The Pentagon will also provide the Ukrainians with up to 150,000 rounds of 155-millimeter artillery ammunition.

Click to play video: 'Canada, US announce additional military aid to Ukraine' Canada, US announce additional military aid to Ukraine
Canada, US announce additional military aid to Ukraine – Jun 15, 2022

The Pentagon will also provide additional ammunition for medium-range rocket systems it provided Ukraine in June, known as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. The ammunition will come from the Defense Department’s own inventory under what’s known as drawdown authority. This is the 14th package of military weapons and equipment transferred to Ukraine from Defense Department stocks since August 2021.

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The war has evolved into a grinding stalemate in which both sides are heavily reliant on artillery, according to Western officials and analysts. While Russia has not achieved its initial goals of toppling Ukraine’s government, it is believed to be making slow progress in consolidating control over the eastern Ukrainian region known as the Donbas.

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