Blinken Unveils $400 Million More In Arms With Ukraine Against The Ropes In Bakhmut
As we reported earlier Ukrainian forces are nearly completely encircled in the key eastern city of Bakhmut, a dire situation which President Zelensky himself has increasingly acknowledged in a series of statements this week. Front line commanders have also said that Russian artillery has been relentless and “around the clock” in its sustainment.
As expected, Ukraine’s leadership has pleaded for more urgent weapons and ammo from its Western backers. On Friday Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new package of ammunition and other defense support, likely timed to give a mere symbolic answer to Ukrainians’ desperate appeals for more help from Bakhmut.
It’s valued at $400 million, and as international reports describe, “The package will be funded using Presidential Drawdown Authority, which authorizes the president to transfer articles and services from US stocks without congressional approval during an emergency,” according to Blinken’s description of the aid.
The package will include rockets for HIMARS systems, more Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and other armored support, as well as howitzers.
Blinken said in a statement: “This military assistance package includes more ammunition for US-provided HIMARS and howitzers, which Ukraine is using so effectively to defend itself, as well as ammunition for Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Armored Vehicle Launched Bridges, demolitions munitions and equipment, and other maintenance, training, and support.”
The NY Times too is currently acknowledging this is a largely symbolic response to Ukraine forces being up against the ropes in the single biggest battle in Donbas region right now. “NATO leaders have long warned of a looming artillery shortage for Ukraine as its troops burn through thousands of shells each day in trying to push back Russian forces,” the Times writes.
“That has been particularly clear in the monthslong battle for the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops are fighting to avoid encirclement by Russian forces,” it adds.
Revealingly, the report also includes the observation: “It was not clear if the new tranche of American ammunition would arrive in time to defend Bakhmut, if that is where commanders decide it should be sent.” Even as Ukraine is losing in Bakhmut, the administration is showing itself willing to pull from the Pentagon’s own already strained weapons stockpiles.
Fri, 03/03/2023 – 18:00