US to send $1.8bn aid to Ukraine, including Patriot system

TEHRAN, Dec. 21 (MNA) – A United States official has said Joe Biden’s administration will soon announce a $1.8bn military aid package for Kyiv which will include a Patriot missile battery and precision-guided bombs for Ukrainian fighter jets.

US officials described details of the aid package on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Media organizations citing unnamed sources also reported on Wednesday that Zelenskyy could travel to Washington, DC to meet Biden and visit the US Congress. Zelenskyy’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the trip and security concerns could yet force the Ukrainian leader to change his plans, a source told the Reuters news agency.

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier on Tuesday said in a letter that there would be a session of Congress on Wednesday night, which would have a “very special focus on democracy”, further heightening speculation the Ukrainian president would visit the US capital, AL Jazeera reported.

The $1.8bn aid package due to be announced by Biden, according to AP, signals an expansion in the kinds of advanced weaponry the US is sending Ukraine to bolster the country’s air defenses against what has been an increasing barrage of Russian missile attacks.

The package, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday, according to the AP, will include about $1bn in weapons from Pentagon stocks and another $800m in funding through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which funds weapons, ammunition, training, and other assistance, officials said.

The Biden administration’s decision to send the Patriot missile system comes despite Russian threats that delivery of such an advanced surface-to-air missile battery would be considered a provocative step and that the system – and any crews accompanying it – would be a legitimate target for Moscow’s military.

When the Patriot would arrive on the front lines in Ukraine is unknown and US forces must also train Ukrainians on how to use the high-tech system. That training could take several weeks and is expected to be undertaken at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany.

All US and Western allies’ training of Ukraine forces has taken place in European countries.

The expected announcement of the aid package comes as the US Congress is poised to approve another $44.9bn in assistance for Ukraine as part of a significant spending bill. That would ensure US support for Kyiv will continue next year and beyond, as Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.


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