Ukraine thanks US for sending more powerful weapons, drones, and rocket launchers
Kyiv, Ukraine - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked the United States for intensifying its military assistance with the upcoming deliveries of more rocket launchers, vehicles, and drones.
"Thank you President Biden for the new defense aid package for Ukraine. Critically important, powerful arms will save our soldiers' lives, speed up the liberation of our land from the Russian aggressor. I appreciate the strategic friendship between our nations. Together to victory!" Zelensky tweeted on Saturday.
The White House announced on Friday additional heavy weapons shipments to Ukraine worth about $270 million, bringing the total military assistance to the country to $8.2 billion since the start of the Biden administration and Ukraine's invasion by Russia.
Included in the latest package are four additional HIMARS artillery systems. Kyiv has said the US-supplied high-tech, long-range rocket launchers will be critical to a planned counteroffensive to retake territory captured by Russian forces.
The new US package also includes 36,000 artillery shells, vehicles, and up to 580 Phoenix Ghost drones.
Zelensky has said the grinding five-month-old war could be over by the end of the year - if the West sticks to its promises to keep supplying Kyiv with the necessary weapons.
This week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the long-range weapons being sent to Kyiv by the West have changed the dynamic of the war and this is leading Moscow to redefine its aims.
Lavrov said that to ensure the security of its own forces, the Russian military must now work to push Ukrainian forces farther from the front line, suggesting Moscow would expand the focus of its invasion beyond the east of the country.
US is considering supplying fighter jets to Ukraine
The US government is also considering supplying Ukraine with US fighter jets, communications director of the National Security Council, John Kirby, said on Friday.
The US is "making some preliminary explorations into the feasibility of potentially providing fighter aircraft to the Ukrainians," Kirby said.
But he added, "it's not going to be something that they're going to be able to execute immediately or even in the short term," as integrating and operating advanced fighter aircraft with complex sensors and systems and weapons capabilities is a difficult endeavor.
He stressed that the US would support Ukraine in the fight against Russian invading forces for as long as necessary.
Cover photo: Collage: OZAN KOSE & SERGEY BOBOK / AFP