The US Department of Defense announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine worth about $400 million as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
The pack includes tanks and drones.
“The USAI package underscores the continued commitment of the United States to assist Ukraine in meeting its most urgent requirements … It also builds the ability of Ukraine’s armed forces to defend its sovereignty over the long term,” Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said at a press conference Friday. .
The package includes upgraded T-72 tanks, new Phoenix Ghost drones, HAWK air defense systems for delivery to Ukraine and other items.
The tanks will come from the Czech Republic, with the US paying for the upgrade of 45 of them, according to Singh, and the Netherlands for an additional 45 tanks.
Some of the tanks are expected to be delivered by the end of December, Singh said.
“They will be the most technically advanced tanks on the battlefield,” he added.
Singh also announced that “part” of the Phoenix Ghost drones ordered to Ukraine earlier has already been delivered.
“We’ve already seen success on the battlefield, but I don’t have a specific timeline for when this next installment will be delivered,” he said.
The US will upgrade its HAWK air defense missile systems for the first time using funding from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, Singh said in the speech.
Singh would not specify how many HAWK air defense systems will be upgraded and sent to Ukraine, citing operational security.
Some background: Ukraine has asked NATO allies and the US for more air defense systems as Russian forces have continued to attack the country with missiles and Iranian-made drones. While the US has used Ukrainian funding to provide another air defense system, the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS), those NASAMS have not yet arrived in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the US for its support later Friday: