US announces $2.1 bn arms package for Ukraine
The United States on Friday announced a $2.1-billion military aid package for Ukraine, just as Kyiv appeared to be opening its long-awaited counter-offensive aimed at driving Russia from the country.
The package included missiles for Patriot air defense systems, artillery rounds, drones and laser-guided rocket system munitions.
The new arms, illustrate "the continued commitment to both Ukraine's critical near-term capabilities as well as the enduring capacity of Ukraine's Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term," the Pentagon said in a statement.
It took to $40.4 billion the value of military supplies the United States has provided Ukraine since early 2021, most of it since Russia invaded the country on February 24, 2022.
It came at a crucial point in the war. Ukraine has been stockpiling weaponry and training forces in preparation for a likely grueling land campaign to try to force Russian troops to retreat from the large sections of southeastern and southern Ukraine which they occupy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Friday that the offensive has begun, amid reports that Ukrainian troops have launched assaults at three key points along the long front.