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US Provides $1.2 Billion Military Aid Package to Ukraine to Bolster Air Defenses Against Russia

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia continues to escalate, with Russia using drones, rockets, and surface-to-air missiles to attack Ukrainian targets. As a response to these attacks, the United States has announced a $1.2 billion military aid package to Ukraine to bolster its air defenses and provide long-term security needs.

The aid package will be provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and will be spent over the coming months or even years. The package includes funding for air-defense munitions and drones, equipment to modify Western air-defense launchers, missiles and radars to be used with Ukraine's systems, and artillery rounds and howitzer ammunition. The aid package also includes satellite imagery assistance, ongoing maintenance and spare parts for various systems, and HAWK air-defense systems.

The U.S. officials have spoken anonymously as the official announcement of the HAWK air-defense systems is yet to be made. The Pentagon has said that this aid will build the capacity of Ukraine's military "to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term." The aid package is part of the nearly $37 billion in military aid provided by the United States to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

The announcement of the aid package comes as Ukraine prepares to launch a spring offensive against Russian forces, with air defense being a persistent issue. Recently, Ukraine's air defenses shot down 35 Iranian-made drones over Kyiv in Russia's latest nighttime assault. The attack resulted in wreckage from a drone striking a two-story apartment building in Kyiv's western Svyatoshynskyi district, and other debris striking a parked car, setting it on fire.

Russian shelling of 127 targets across northern, southern, and eastern parts of Ukraine killed three civilians, according to the Ukrainian defense ministry. Facing economic sanctions and supply chain limits due to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has routinely turned to Iran's Shahed drones to bolster its firepower. The U.S. aid packages have included systems to shoot down and defeat the drones.

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