Howitzers, Drones Highlight Ukraine's Newest U.S. Boost to Fight Russia

Ukraine is set to receive a further $775 million in U.S. military aid to bolster its ongoing war against Russia.

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced on Friday that an aid package including Howitzers, drones, armored vehicles, missiles, artillery rounds and ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) would soon be sent to Ukraine.

The new aid was the nineteenth package sent to Ukraine using presidential drawdown authority since August 2021, with President Joe Biden's administration having sent a total of $10.6 billion in military aid to the war-torn country since January 2021.

"President Biden has been clear that we will continue to support the people of Ukraine in defending their country from Russia's aggression for as long as it takes," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. "The United States stands with our Allies and partners from more than 50 countries in providing vital security assistance to support Ukraine's defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity."

"The United States will continue to provide additional systems and capabilities for Ukraine," he added. "These capabilities are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine's position at the negotiating table."

The package authorized on Friday includes 15 ScanEagle surveillance drones, which the U.S. has not previously sent to Ukraine, although another unnamed country has, according to a Reuters report citing an anonymous senior U.S. defense official.

Ukraine Military Aid Package Pentagon Biden Russia
Ukrainian troops are pictured preparing to fire a U.S.-made M777 Howitzer on the front lines in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on August 1, 2022. The U.S. Department of Defense announced a new $775 million military aid package to Ukraine on Friday. SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty

The DoD announced that the new aid also includes the following items:

  • 40 MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles with mine rollers
  • 16 105mm Howitzers and 36,000 105mm artillery rounds
  • 50 Armored High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles
  • 1,500 Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles
  • 1,000 Javelin anti-armor systems
  • Additional HIMARS ammunition
  • 2,000 anti-armor rounds
  • Mine clearing equipment and systems
  • Demolition munitions
  • Tactical secure communications systems
  • Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, optics and laser rangefinders.

The package was announced just after the comprehensive Ukraine Support Tracker reported that international promises to provide aid to Ukraine had "dried up in July." It also came less than two weeks after the DoD announced a massive $1 billion military aid package to Ukraine on August 8.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised Biden for authorizing the package in a tweet on Friday.

"I highly appreciate another [U.S.] military aid package in the amount of $775 million," Zelensky tweeted. "Thank you @POTUS for this decision! We have taken another important step to defeat the aggressor. [Ukraine] will be free!"

Over the past month, advanced rockets supplied by Western countries have been used by Ukraine to strike behind Russian lines, according to Reuters. Ukraine has also warned that Russian-occupied Crimea, where a series of explosions have caused damage at military bases since last week, is no longer safe from attacks.

Russia has repeatedly denounced the U.S. for supplying Ukraine with weapons, while threatening to expand the scope of the war and accusing the U.S. of being "directly involved" by sending aid.

"The degree of Washington's influence on Kyiv exceeds all conceivable boundaries," Alexander Darchiev, the director of the Russian foreign ministry's North America department, said in an interview with Russian state-run news agency TASS last week.

"As well as large-scale military and financial assistance and moral support for the Zelensky regime, the Americans are increasingly becoming a direct party to the conflict," he added.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian government for comment.