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The Pentagon says its billion-dollar military aid deliveries to Ukraine have ‘never been made so fast’

Ukrainian troops unload US-made Stinger missiles and other military assistance shipped from Lithuania to kyiv, February 13, 2022.SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

  • The United States has approved more than $1 billion in security aid for Ukraine since the Russian attack began.

  • These packages, which included anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, arrived in just a few days.

  • Such deliveries have “never been made so quickly before,” the Pentagon’s top spokesman said Wednesday.

The billions of dollars in security aid, including weapons, that the United States has delivered to Ukraine in recent weeks have arrived at unprecedented speed, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

The latest aid package, worth $100 million, was announced on Tuesday. It is intended “to meet an urgent Ukrainian need for additional Javelin anti-armour systems”, the US Department of Defense said.

This followed a $300 million security assistance package announced on April 1 and an $800 million program announced on March 16.

In total, the United States has provided $1.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24 and more than $2.4 billion since the arrival in power of the Biden administration.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Pentagon chief spokesman John Kirby highlighted the speed with which this assistance was provided.

The Pentagon says its billion-dollar military aid deliveries to Ukraine have ‘never been made so fast’

Ukrainian soldiers load a truck with American-made Javelins anti-tank missiles at Boryspil airport in kyiv on February 11, 2022.SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

For recent aid packages, Kirby said, “from the time the president signs it to actually arrive in the region, it can take as little as four days, and it’s not like that.” it would stay in storage for a week or two.”

At a March 31 briefing, a senior US defense official, speaking anonymously to describe developments in Ukraine, said the first delivery of a $200 million package approved on March 12 had arrived six days later. late and that the first delivery of the $800 million package approved on March 16 arrived on March 20.

“We’re able to get this material because we’re so careful and nimble in how these overland expeditions go,” Kirby said Wednesday. “We’re able to get him into Ukraine and often into the fight within 48 hours sometimes. I mean, it’s incredibly fast.”

Kirby added that a $350 million security aid package that was approved on Feb. 26 was “completed in about three weeks.”

Such deliveries have “never been made so quickly before,” Kirby said.

The April 1 package was cleared under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, through which the United States purchases items from American companies. Other packages were approved as direct drawdowns on US stocks.

The United States has rushed to provide anti-aircraft and anti-armour weapons, such as Stinger and Javelin missiles, which US officials say are best suited to the threats facing Ukrainian forces. The March 16 package included 800 Stingers and 2,000 Javelins, bringing the total of each provided by the United States to 1,400 and 4,600, respectively.

The $300 million package announced on April 1 included machine guns and ammunition, medical supplies, secure communications systems, armored vehicles, night vision devices, drones and counter-drone systems.

The Pentagon says its billion-dollar military aid deliveries to Ukraine have ‘never been made so fast’

A U.S. Marine launches a Switchblade drone during an exercise at Camp Pendleton in Calif., September 2, 2020.US Marine Corps/Cpl. jenessa davey

Among the drones in the April 1st package were Switchblade tactical unmanned systems, a prowling munition or a “kamikaze drone”.

Kirby said Wednesday that “a very small number” of Ukrainian soldiers who have been training in the United States since the fall have received training with the Switchblades.

“We took the opportunity, still having them in the country, to give them a few days of training on the Switchblade so they could go back – and they will be going home soon – to train others in the Army. Ukrainian,” Kirby said, adding that a person could be “properly trained” on the Switchblade in about two days.

Switchblades come in two variants, a lighter one designed to destroy infantry and artillery targets and a heavier version designed to take out tanks and armored vehicles.

Speaking to lawmakers on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin indicated that both variants were headed to Ukraine, saying they “will move as quickly as possible.”

On Wednesday, Kirby declined to confirm both variants were being sent, but said the United States would continue discussions with the Ukrainians “and help them get more if needed.”

“We’re going to keep doing that as much as we can, as fast as we can,” Kirby said, “and we’re going to be as careful as we can to keep that flow going, because obviously they’re in a very, very active fight.”

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