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US sends $1bn in new security aid to Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden has announced up to $1 billion in weapons aid for Ukraine, including anti-ship systems, artillery rockets and rounds for howitzers.

The aid package, which comes as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meets with allies at NATO, is the 12th U.S. security assistance installment for Ukraine since the start of the war.

Since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Biden administration has deployed more than 100,000 U.S. troops to NATO-member countries and authorized $5.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.

“I spoke with President Zelenskyy to discuss Russia’s brutal and ongoing war against Ukraine. I reaffirmed my commitment that the United States will stand by Ukraine as it defends its democracy and support its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression,” Biden wrote in a statement.

Pres Biden also announced an additional $225 million in humanitarian assistance for Ukraine to address needs like safe drinking water, critical medical supplies, food and cash for families to purchase essential items.

The Pentagon said that the latest supply of weapons for Kyiv, the 12th such installment, is valued at $350 million and includes:

-18 155 mm howitzers
-36,000 rounds of 155 mm ammunition
-18 tactical vehicles to tow 155 mm howitzers
-Ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HMARS
-4 tactical vehicles to recover equipment and spare parts.

The U.S. will also provide Ukraine with two Harpoon coastal defense systems, thousands of secure radios, night vision and thermal devices along with funding for training and maintenance support. That aid is collectively valued at $650 million.

Editing by Omotola Oguneye