The White House announced a $270 million weapons package Kiev on Friday. The latest transfer will send four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS and drones to Ukraine.
The additional four HIMARS brings the total number the US has committed to sending to Ukraine to 16. Commander of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley said the other 12 HIMARS have reached Ukraine and have not been destroyed by Russia. The US has provided Ukraine with rockets that can be fired 50 miles by the rocket systems.
John Kirby, communications director for the National Security Council, announced the package on Friday. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters on Wednesday the US would be sending the additional HIMARS.
The package also includes 36,000 rounds of artillery ammunition for howitzers and 560 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones. The latest transfer is the 17th approved by the White House since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The Biden administration has now committed over $8 billion in weapons to Kiev’s fight.
Russia has been critical of arms assistance to Ukraine from the US and its allies. The HIMARS have drawn particular ire from the Kremlin because of the platform’s long range. Ukrainian officials have recently suggested the HIMARS could be used in an offensive to retake the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Last week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin had decided to take more Ukrainian territory because of the advanced weapons the West sent to Kiev. “That means the geographical tasks will extend still further from the current line. We cannot allow the part of Ukraine that Zelensky will control or whoever replaces him to have weapons that will pose a direct threat to our territory and the territory of those republics that have declared their independence,” he said.