Washington will finance the modernization of tanks and anti-aircraft missiles for Ukraine
The United States will finance the modernization of T-72 tanks and Hawk surface-to-air missiles as part of military aid to Ukraine of some $400 million, the Pentagon announced on Friday. Air defense capabilities are quite high on kyiv’s list of requests for help.
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to US President Joe Biden, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in kyiv on Friday to announce the new aid, the White House said. This move comes four days before the mid-term elections, which could allow the Republican Party to take control of Congress, some of whose leaders are planning to reduce the aid provided to kyiv.
The aid announced Friday concerns the T-72, a tank designed in the Soviet era that is no longer at the level of modern armor. The 5 “tanks come from the Czech defense industry, and the United States pays for the modernization of 45 of them, while the Netherlands has made the same commitment” for 90 T-72s, Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters. She said some tanks would be ready by the end of December, while others should be delivered in 2023.
Asked why more modern tanks were not provided, Mme Singh cited cost and usability factors. “These are tanks that the Ukrainians know how to use”she pointed out.
US military aid also includes financing for the modernization of Hawk missiles from US military stocks. These missiles represent a major asset for Ukraine in its fight against Russian drones and missile strikes. Mme Singh declined to specify how many of these missiles would be upgraded, for security reasons.
In addition to armored vehicles and Hawk missiles, this new American aid includes 1,100 Phoenix Ghost drones, 40 armored patrol boats and funding for the renovation of 250 M1117 armored vehicles.
This new installment brings the total US aid to Ukraine to some $18.2 billion since the start of the Russian offensive.