WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is set to send its 15th security assistance package to Ukraine, bringing the tally of U.S. military and humanitarian aid to more than $7 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
A senior U.S. Defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to share details of the additional security assistance, said the $400 million weapons package was coordinated with Ukrainian officials and is tailored to the wider Russian assault in eastern Ukraine.
Heavy artillery platforms, like howitzers and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, sit high on Ukrainian military wish lists.
The official said the latest security package will include four additional HIMARS, which brings the total number of HIMARS transfers to Ukraine from U.S. arsenals to 12.
The HIMARS, manufactured by defense giant Lockheed Martin, are designed to shoot a variety of missiles from a mobile 5-ton truck. The official said that U.S. troops will keep training Ukrainian forces on how to use the platform at a location outside the country.
“We will continue to train them because we see this as a sustained battle,” the official said, adding that HIMARS training takes approximately a week to complete.
The official declined to elaborate when pressed by reporters on how many Ukrainian troops have so far completed training on the HIMARS platform.
The person added that the latest security assistance will be a mixture of systems already deployed to the fight as well as new capabilities.
The official said that the latest tranche of weapons will include additional ammunition for HIMARS, 155 mm howitzers and rounds of ammunition for the howitzers.
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