The U.S. will announce a new military aid package for Ukraine on Friday, two people familiar with the announcement told POLITICO, with another $800 million in weapons and ammunition.
A third person said the next package will include Excalibur precision-guided munitions, which would further help Ukraine hit far-away Russian targets during the war’s artillery-heavy phase.
The tranche comes just days before Ukraine’s independence day on Aug. 24, which one DoD official suggested could also bring a fresh American show of support.
It’s unclear whether the weapons will be delivered ahead of Ukraine’s long-telegraphed counteroffensive to reclaim parts of the Russia-seized south. The delay in its launch has many wondering if the counteroffensive ever happen.
For now, both Russian and Ukrainian troops are struggling to make meaningful advances as the fight has turned into an artillery-led war of attrition.
Ukrainian officials say its military is focusing on striking targets deep in Moscow-held territory inside sovereign Ukrainian lands, pointing to dramatic attacks on Russian bases in Crimea that have destroyed several warplanes and ships, including several dramatic strikes on Thursday night that left a Russian ammunition depot in Crimea burning for hours.
A Western official told POLITICO Friday that “more than half” of Russia’s combat naval aviation fleet in the Black Sea was knocked out by a recent attack on Saky air base on the peninsula.
A senior administration official told POLITICO this week that the U.S. is supportive of Ukraine targeting Russian positions in Crimea and other occupied territory. “We don’t select targets, of course, and everything we’ve provided is for self-defense purposes. Any target they choose to pursue on sovereign Ukrainian soil is by definition self defense,” the official said.
Reuters first reported the news of the $800 million package being announced as soon as Friday.