U.S. approves $675 million more in weapons for Ukraine as defense leaders meet-UPDATED

U.S. approves $675 million more in weapons for Ukraine as defense leaders meet-UPDATED
# 08 September 2022 14:05 (UTC +04:00)

U.S. President Joe Biden approved an additional $675 million weapons package for Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday, as ministers met to discuss how to give Kyiv long-term support in countering Russia's invasion, APA reports citing Reuters.

The six-month-old conflict has killed thousands and reduced Ukrainian cities to rubble. In recent weeks fears have grown over a potential disaster at Zaporizhzhia, Europe's biggest nuclear power plant.

Austin, who was speaking at the start of a meeting of dozens of defense ministers at Ramstein air base in Germany, said the gathering would discuss how countries can work together to train Ukrainian forces and improve their defenses.

"This contact group needs to position itself to sustain Ukraine's brave defenders for the long haul," Austin said, referring to the meeting. "That means a continued and determined flow of capability now."

The conflict has settled into a war of attrition fought primarily in eastern and southern Ukraine.

The latest U.S. package will include more ammunitions, humvees and anti-tank systems.

Washington has already provided more than $10 billion in military assistance to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's government since Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24.

Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the campaign a "special operation" to demilitarize Ukraine, while Kyiv accuses Moscow of an imperial-style land-grab to retake a pro-Western neighbor that shook off Russian domination when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991.

*** 10:58

The Pentagon will announce on Thursday the transfer of $675 million worth of weapons to Ukraine, including ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), according to a US official, APA reports citing Washington Post.

In addition to ammunition, the US will deliver to Ukraine vehicles and other equipment for the military, the news outlet added.