28 May 2023,   16:04
US readies USD 2 billion-plus Ukraine aid package with longer-range weapons

The United States is readying more than USD 2 billion worth of military aid for Ukraine that is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time and other munitions and weapons, two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The weapons aid is expected to be announced as soon as later this week, the officials said. It is also expected to include support equipment for Patriot air defense systems, precision guided munitions and Javelin anti-tank weapons, they add.

One of the officials said that a portion of the package, USD 1.725 billion, would come from a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows President Joe Biden’s administration to get weapons from industry rather than from existing U.S. weapons stocks.

The USAI funds would go toward the purchase of a new weapon, Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), which have a range of 150-km. The United States has rebuffed requests for the 297-km range ATACMS missile.

The longer range of the GLSDB glide bomb could allow Ukraine to hit valuable military targets that have been out of reach and help it continue pressing its counterattacks by disrupting Russia further behind its lines.