13 Mar, 2022 07:59
Washington says the “unprecedented” move will help to fight off the Russian attack
Ukrainian servicemen load a truck with US-made Javelin anti-tank systems at Boryspil International Airport near Kiev, Ukraine, February 11, 2022. © Sergei Supinsky/AFP
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken authorized $200 million for additional military aid to Kiev on Saturday amid the ongoing Russian military campaign in the country.
“This package will include further defensive assistance to help Ukraine meet the armored, airborne, and other threats it is facing,” Blinken said in a statement.
He added that the “unprecedented” move brings the total amount of US military aid to Ukraine to more than $1.2 billion since January 2021.
Individual Western countries have supplied Ukraine with anti-tank weapons, air defense missile systems, machine guns, body armor and other equipment since the start of the Russian attack on February 24. They failed, however, to reach an agreement to send Soviet-era jet fighters to Ukraine, while NATO rejected Kiev’s repeated pleas to establish a no-fly zone over the country, fearing an armed conflict with Moscow.
Poland said it was ready to donate its entire fleet of MiG-29 jets in exchange for US-made planes with “corresponding operational capabilities.” The Pentagon officially rejected the plan on Wednesday.
Russia has insisted that it attacked its neighbor in order to defend the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which broke away from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. Moscow also said it wanted to force Ukraine into declaring itself a neutral country that will never join NATO.
Ukraine said that the attack was entirely unjustified and denied claims that it was planning to retake the rebellious republics by force.