Jun 28, 2022 06:51 UTC
  • US finalizing package of long-range air-defense missiles for Ukraine: Sullivan

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says Washington is in the process of finalizing a weapons package, including long-range air-defense missiles, for Ukraine, more than four months into Russia's military offensive in the former Soviet country.

Sullivan said at a press conference on Monday that the US would send medium- and long-range air missile defense systems to Ukraine as part of the next aid package to the European country.

The national security adviser added that the finalization of the latest package could be announced as soon as this week.

“I can confirm that we are in fact, in the process of finalizing a package that includes advanced air defense capabilities. As [US President Joe Biden] told [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelensky, we do intend to finalize a package that includes advanced medium- and long-range air defense capabilities for the Ukrainians, along with some other items that are of urgent need, including ammunition for artillery and counter-battery radar systems,” Sullivan noted.

Sullivan added that Biden, who is currently in Germany for a summit with leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), had already made the pledge to his Ukrainian counterpart.

The announcement came after earlier on Monday, an unnamed source familiar with the issue told AFP that Biden has made the procurement of advanced air defense systems for Ukraine a priority. The Source also identified “advanced medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile defense system” as “NASAMS,” which has been developed by Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA) and Raytheon.

The decision to further arm Kiev with an array of surface-to-air missiles was made after Washington and its European allies made clear that sending warplanes to Ukraine was too risky, potentially drawing them directly into the conflict against Russia.

Since the onset of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the US and its European allies have been sending advanced weapons into Ukraine to help its military fend off Russian forces.

Ukraine hopes to outmaneuver the Russians by obtaining more advanced weapons. Kiev heavily relies on its Western allies to regain the Donbass, composed of the two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where the Russian military has focused its attention on. Pro-Russia forces had held parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions even before the Russian onslaught began.