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U.S. Boosts Ukraine's Arsenal With $400 Million Military Aid Package

The United States has announced an additional $400 million security package for Ukraine, including air defense munitions, armored vehicles, anti-armor weapons, and other "critical military assistance" from Defense Department stockpiles to help it retake territory and defend against Russian missile strikes.

The Pentagon announced the package on July 25 after the European Union announced a 1.5 billion-euro ($1.66 billion) aid disbursement to help Ukraine repair infrastructure amid fresh air strikes by Russia on the port city of Odesa and the capital Kyiv.

The U.S. aid is the 43rd drawdown of equipment from Defense Department inventories for Ukraine since August 2021, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The package includes munitions for Patriot air defense systems and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), Stinger antiaircraft systems, more ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers, and a variety of other missiles and rockets.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the United States and its allies and partners will continue to stand united with Ukraine.

"Russia could end this war at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and stopping its brutal attacks against Ukraine's cities and people," Blinken said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked the United States for the aid in his nightly video message.

He said he spoke earlier with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about how to ensure the flow of Ukrainian grain to international markets amid fresh air strikes by Russia on the port city of Odesa and the capital Kyiv.

"First and foremost, we talked about protecting our southern regions, in particular Odesa, the normal life of people and the work of our ports," he said in the video. "Rishi and I discussed possible steps and the possible number of air defense batteries. The United Kingdom can become the leader whose assistance with air defense systems will guarantee real security."

Russian strikes in recent days have targeted Ukrainian food export facilities, including on Danube ports close to the border with NATO member Romania.

Kyiv has accused Moscow of targeting grain supplies and infrastructure since suspending its participation in the Black Sea grain deal brokered last year by the United Nations and Turkey with Russia and Ukraine to help alleviate a global food crisis worsened by Russia's invasion.

Sunak said he made it clear during the call with Zelenskiy that any efforts by Russia to prevent grain from leaving Ukraine would be "completely unacceptable."

"The prime minister said the U.K. was working closely with Turkey on restoring the grain deal, and we would continue to use our role as chair of the UN Security Council to further condemn Russia's behavior," Sunak's office said in a statement. Sunak also said he was "appalled by the devastation caused by recent Russian attacks on Odesa."

Zelenskiy also said in his video message that he held a meeting ahead of the first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, scheduled to take place on July 26.

"The consultations are specifically about security in the Black Sea -- our ports and our grain exports," he said.

In Brussels, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said she "firmly condemns" the Russian strikes on Ukrainian grain storage and export infrastructure and vowed continued support for Kyiv.

"Today we paid another 1.5 billion euros, to help keep the [Ukrainian] state running and repair infrastructure," von der Leyen said on Twitter.

The Kremlin on July 25 rejected a call by UN chief Antonio Guterres for Moscow to rejoin the grain deal, claiming that a part of the agreement that allowed Russia to export its grain and fertilizer had not been honored.

"Unfortunately, at the moment it is impossible to return to the deal because [the Russia-related part] is not being implemented, and de facto it has never been implemented," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a news conference.

Regional officials in Ukraine reported early on July 25 that Russia launched a new wave of drone strikes on Kyiv, while and Moscow said it warded off a Ukrainian attack on one if its patrol boats in the Black Sea.

All drones launched overnight in the sixth attack on Ukraine's capital this month were shot down by the city's air defense, Serhiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv city military administration, said. The attack caused no casualties or damage, he said.

Russian drone attacks were also reported in the Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions, with the latter suffering some infrastructure damage.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian seaborne drones attempted an attack on one of its patrol boats in the Black Sea, but the attack failed.

The claim could not be independently confirmed.


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