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US announces $375 million in military aid for Ukraine, as Zelensky meets Biden in Japan
The U.S. Department of Defense on May 21 announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $375 million, aimed to help Ukrainian forces "push back against Russia's unprovoked war of aggression."
The latest package includes additional ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS rocket launchers and artillery rounds, as well as Javelin anti-tank missiles and AT-4 anti-armor systems.
In a statement, the Pentagon said that the U.S. would continue working with allies and partners to help Ukraine meet "its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements."
The announcement of the new military aid package comes after U.S. President Joe Biden met his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
Zelensky said in a Twitter post that the two discussed further cooperation to bolster Ukraine's defense, as well as the Ukrainian Peace Formula and reconstruction projects.
Zelensky thanked Biden for the announcement, which he said adds up to a total of $37 billion in military aid since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
In a statement, the White House said Biden underscored his country's readiness to help Ukraine meet both immediate battlefield needs and a long-term capacity to defend the country against Russian aggression. It added that they also discussed the American support for a joint effort with allies to train Ukrainian pilots on Western jets, including the F-16s.
A few days earlier, Biden signaled that he would authorize a third-party transfer of the Western F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine – which needs U.S. approval given the sensitive U.S. technology incorporated in the aircraft. He supported the international fighter jet coalition and reportedly told G7 leaders that he supported a joint initiative to train Ukrainian pilots on modern fighter jets, including F-16s.
The shift in the U.S. position regarding the F-16s comes after Ukraine has spent months pleading for Western fighter jets to better protect its people from Russian air strikes and to ramp up its attacks on the battlefield.