U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday approved an additional $675 million weapons package for Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said as U.S. officials met to discuss how to provide Ukraine long-term support. The move comes in addition to a separate $2 billion in military financing to Ukraine and other countries in the region. The latest military aid package will include more munitions, humvees, and anti-tank systems, Reuters reported.
In an address on late Wednesday, Ukrainian President Zelensky said that his forces captured some settlements in Kharkiv in a counter-offensive against the Russians. Western analysts who spoke to Reuters said that Ukraine may have retaken around 154 square miles of territory in a deep push through Russian lines.
“This week we have good news from Kharkiv Oblast. All of you have most likely seen reports about the recent activities of Ukrainian defenders. And I think every (Ukrainian) citizen feels proud of our warriors,” said Zelensky.
The situation remains highly fluid, with both Russians and Ukrainians engaged in a bloody tug of war that has seen the lines shift on a daily basis.
A Russian official said that Russian forces put up stiff resistance and prevented Kyiv from taking at least one key position.
There is pressure on the Zelensky government in Kyiv to demonstrate that it is putting Western armaments to good use ahead of winter, as he asks the United States and its Western allies to provide him with additional military financing and weapons.
Reuters reports that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Ukraine on Thursday and is expected to announce $2 billion in military financing for the nation and 18 other countries adjacent to Russia to defend themselves. Roughly half the funds will be directed to Zelensky’s government in Kyiv.
The latest announcements of military aid will bring the total U.S. security assistance, which does not include humanitarian support or financing for the Ukrainian government, to a total of $15.2 billion since Biden took office.