In an effort to further bolster the military capacity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the United States and its allies are supplying Ukraine with new small arms, anti-tank weaponry, military equipment, and various munitions in support of Ukraine’s frontline men. This rally in support comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told US President Joe Biden that he needed weapons in Ukraine and not an evacuation when he was offered one by the US government.
With the continued intensified fighting in Ukraine, it has become apparent that Ukraine has the capacity to repel Russian attacks as Kyiv and Kharkiv remain in Ukrainian control amid repeated Russian attempts to take these cities. While several small towns have fallen to the Russian occupation, the major cities have remained under Ukrainian control. Hundreds, if not thousands of troops and civilians have been killed by Russian gunfire and bombardment. Hundreds of casualties have been reported by both sides; however, the exact numbers remain unknown as neither side can be expected to faithfully report accurate numbers. Kharkiv remains under attack by Russian artillery, specifically in the residential districts where 11 civilians have been reported killed so far.
In response, US President Joe Biden has now instructed the US State Department to release another $350 million worth of ‘lethal defensive assistance’ in weapons and equipment to be sent to Ukraine. This will be allocated through the Foreign Assistance Act. The weapon supply package includes anti-aircraft systems, small arms, body armor, and numerous types of munitions to help repel the Russian army. With this additional supply package, the US has now given more than $1 billion in military assistance to Ukraine.
“Today, as Ukraine fights with courage and pride against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked assault, I have authorized, pursuant to a delegation by the President, an unprecedented third Presidential Drawdown of up to $350 million for immediate support to Ukraine’s defense. This brings the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion,” said US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in a statement.
The US is not alone in supplying Ukraine with munitions. In a historic turn of foreign policy, Germany will now supply Kyiv with 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger SAMs. This is the first time Germany has shifted to supply weapons to a country in a current conflict, which it has not done before.
It can be remembered that Germany once offered to send 5,000 helmets to Ukraine, a move that many political observers and Ukrainian officials widely criticized. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko stated that it made him speechless as it sounded like a complete joke. Zelensky, through a tweet, expressed his gratitude to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who in the past had been trying not to supply Ukraine with weapons due to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline deal with Russia.
Germany has just announced the provision of anti-tank grenade launchers and stinger missiles to Ukraine. Keep it up, Chancellor @OlafScholz! Anti-war coalition in action! — Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 26, 2022
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It is our duty to do our best to support Ukraine in defending itself against Putin’s invading army,” said Scholz. Furthermore, when talking about Russia, the previously timid Scholz is now outspoken and described Putin as a “warmonger” amid the suspension of the certification process of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Joining Germany in historic shifts is Sweden, where it will be sending 5,000 anti-tank rockets to Ukraine along with body armor and field rations. The British Government expressed its intentions of supplying Ukraine with more lethal defensive weapons and loan guarantees so it could help Ukraine continue the fight with a manageable financial burden.
The Dutch Government has also committed to supplying Ukraine with 50 units of the formidable Panzerfaust-3, 400 rockets, and 200 Stinger air defense rockets to bolster Ukraine’s capacity against Russian tanks. It is also considering sending a Patriot air defense system to a NATO battle group in Slovakia.
Belgium has also committed to supplying Ukraine with 2,000 machine guns and 3,800 tons of fuel. It has also deployed 300 troops in Romania due to its commitments with NATO in the NATO Rapid Response group to strengthen its eastern flank. Romania has pledged to help with putting up 11 military hospitals and donating bulletproof vests and other equipment worth $3.3 million. Spain has also expressed its interest in sending 20 tons of aid to Ukraine in the form of medical and defensive equipment.
France will also send defensive military equipment to Ukraine, with offensive weapons being debated upon due to French President Emmanuel Macron and Putin’s ongoing talks. In said talks, Macron had asked Putin to halt all bombardment and attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure and provide safe access on roads in Kyiv. The French President reported that Putin is willing to comply with these requests and that the two would be in constant communication.
The first shipment of humanitarian aid collected through Romania’s campaign 🇷🇴"Ukraine – Together we help more" is heading for Siret. Solidarity with #Ukraine🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/WXTyA9wQBz
Poland also joins the supply party where the Polish Government has stated that it will be delivering 100 units of 60mm mortars and 1,500 units of ammunition for said mortars, eight sets of unmanned aerial vehicles, 152mm hollow-charge ammunition, and other types of munitions. Furthermore, it was also said that they were willing to send Javelins and Grot assault rifles as well.
The Czech Republic is also sending weapons to Ukraine worth $8.57 million, including machine guns, assault rifles, and light weaponry. Portugal is sending defensive and offensive equipment such as vests, grenades, ammunition, and helmets to express its solidarity with Ukraine. On the other hand, Athens has sent two C-130 military transport planes filled with defense supplies in response to the 10 Greek nationals killed by Russian bombings near Mariupol. Romania is also sending $3.38 million worth of equipment to Ukraine, including fuel, ammunition, food, water, and vests.
Meanwhile, Canada is sending multiple lethal weaponry as well as $394 million in loan assistance. Japan has also allocated $100 million in approved aid to send to Ukraine. Australia has also expressed its intentions of sending military equipment, medical supplies, and financial support to Ukraine, opting to send defensive supplies over offensive ones.
Behind the scenes, these countries agreeing to supply weapons to Ukraine would come after assurances from the U.S. that we will approve the replacement of their stocks of U.S.-made weaponry being sent to Ukraine. Raytheon Corporation makes the Stinger missile and the Javelin anti-tank missile is made by a joint venture between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
Because of our own export control laws, allied countries are not allowed to transfer U.S.-made weapons to third parties without the permission of the State Department. The rapidly growing list of countries shipping weapons to Ukraine means the State Department has been handling these transfer requests very quickly, Drawing these weapons from stocks held by foreign countries also means that the U.S. inventory of weapons like the Javelin and Stinger held by our own military are very low.
After these weapons are transferred to Ukraine it will be up to Raytheon and Lockheed Martin to replace them with new stock and given their complexity of manufacture and supply chain problems, this may be difficult for them to do in the short term