Biden sends Ukraine an additional 580 Phoenix Ghost drones and rockets

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The United States is sending an additional $270 million in military aid to Ukraine, the White House announced on Friday, including $100 million for 580 tactical drones.

John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, also confirmed that the United States was considering sending fighter jets to President Volodymyr Zelensky – a move the White House had previously ruled out as a potential escalation of the conflict. .

“The president has been clear that we will continue to support the Ukrainian government and its people for as long as it takes,” he said.

The new package will include hundreds of Phoenix Ghost drones.

Officials have been reluctant to describe their capabilities, but they are believed to be single-use “suicide” drones that deliver an explosive payload as they crash into their targets. No photos have been posted.

Kirby told reporters that would bring total aid to Ukraine to $8.2 billion since President Joe Biden took office.

The White House announced on Friday that it would send four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to Ukraine as part of a $270 million military assistance package.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters the package, signed by President Joe Biden on Friday, includes 580 Phoenix Ghost drones.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters the package, signed by President Joe Biden on Friday, includes 580 Phoenix Ghost drones.

“This package includes four more HIMARS – High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems – which the Ukrainians are using very effectively,” he said.

“And that also includes additional ammunition for those HIMARS as well as 36,000 rounds of artillery to go along with the howitzers that the Ukrainians are still using as well as other anti-armour systems, vehicles.”

The weapons reflect the reality of Ukraine’s long-range warfare. The two sides trade long-range artillery as well as rockets and missiles in what has become an air attrition war.

And Kirby confirmed that the United States was now considering sending warplanes, although he said it was not something that would happen quickly.

‘[The Department of Defense] is doing preliminary research on the possibility of potentially supplying fighter jets to the Ukrainians,” he said.

“But it’s not going to be something that they can execute immediately or even in the short term, because the integration and operation of any type of aircraft, especially advanced combat aircraft – you know, with sensors and complex systems and weapon capabilities – it’s a tough business.

He called the talks “exploratory thinking.”

Earlier this week, the country’s top military figure dismissed Russian claims that its forces destroyed sophisticated missile systems sent to Ukraine by the United States.

The United States has promised to provide 20 HIMARS systems in total, as well as ammunition

The United States has promised to provide 20 HIMARS systems in total, as well as ammunition

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Wednesday denied Russian claims that they had destroyed four HIMARS launch systems

General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Wednesday denied Russian claims that they had destroyed four HIMARS launch systems

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took advantage of a Pentagon press conference to say that the HIMARS artillery systems were proving to be an effective weapon in the hands of the Ukrainians.

“To date, these systems have not been eliminated by the Russians,” he said on Wednesday.

“And knock on wood every time I say something like that. And they are very effective at using them, employing precision weapons against targets.

The problem, he continued, was not so much the mobile launch systems, but rather the difficulty of providing the Ukrainians with enough ammunition to continue the fight.

In doing so, he contradicted Russian officials who claimed to have destroyed up to four of the launchers.

Milley said the United States has so far sent 12 HIMARS to Ukraine of more than 20 pledged. In addition, 200 Ukrainians were trained in the use of a weapon capable of firing rockets at targets up to 80 km away.

He added that Ukraine had successfully used them to hit key command and control centers.

“These strikes routinely degrade Russia’s ability to supply its troops, command and control its forces, and wage its unlawful war of aggression,” he told reporters.

“The fact that the Ukrainians were able to deploy these systems quickly says a lot about their ability, their ingenuity, their artillery capability, their sniper ability, their determination and their will to fight.”

His words come as the US plans to send fighter jets to Ukraine and the UK’s spy chief says Russia will soon “run out of steam in the weeks to come as it runs out of ‘arms and personnel’.

In the meantime, however, Moscow has maintained its claims to winning the war.

Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense, claimed that Moscow had destroyed four HIMARS launchers since July 4 as well as a transport vehicle.

“Of these, two launchers were eliminated near the Malotaranovka settlement, another HIMARS and a transport vehicle – in the Krasnoarmeysk region, and a fourth launcher – on the eastern outskirts of Konstantinovka of the Donetsk People’s Republic “, did he declare.

Meanwhile, there was progress in one aspect of the conflict.

Russia and Ukraine on Friday signed an agreement to reopen Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to grain exports. The deal dims hopes that a global food crisis can be averted.

This followed two months of talks brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to tackle rising food prices around the world.

Meanwhile, Richard Moore, the head of Britain’s intelligence service MI6, said Ukraine would likely soon have a chance to retaliate harshly as Russia suspended its offensive to resupply and rebuild.

Russia was in danger of “running out of steam” in a context of shortage of equipment and manpower.

“They’re going to have to take a break one way or another,” he told the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday in a rare public appearance.

He also put Russian casualties at around 15,000 troops, in what he called a “conservative estimate”.

And he said that Ukrainian morale was high.

Additionally, in Aspen, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said the United States was open to sending fighter jets.

The US Air Force plans to supply A-10 Warthogs (pictured) to Ukraine to conduct air assaults in its war with Russia

The US Air Force plans to supply A-10 Warthogs (pictured) to Ukraine to conduct air assaults in its war with Russia

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall did not rule out sending the retired A-10s to Kyiv despite the idea being dropped in March, but said it was

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall did not rule out sending the retired A-10s to Kyiv despite the idea being dropped in March, but said it was ” largely up to Ukraine” to decide which aircraft they want. Pictured: Kendall speaks at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Wednesday

“We will be open to discussions with them about their needs and how we might meet them,” the Air Force chief said Wednesday at the Aspen, Colorado security forum.

Kendall appeared with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown Jr. at the Security Forum this week.

General Brown also said that the United States had a responsibility to help train Ukrainian pilots to fly the various planes if it provided them to its forces.

The US Air Force is seeking to withdraw its A-10 Warthogs – and many have suggested they be sent to Ukraine to help with air assaults in the war with Russia.

But Kendall said it was “largely up to Ukraine” to decide which plane she wanted.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky has repeatedly said he needs more advanced fighter jets such as the F-15s and F-16s.

Kendall and Brown’s comments came a week after the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act. In the lower house version of the bill, the United States would provide $100 million to train Ukrainian pilots to fly American planes.

Kendall has previously dismissed suggestions that the United States could send A-10s to Ukraine, but in Aspen he didn’t completely dismiss the idea.

“There are a number of international opportunities that are possible there,” Kendall said, adding, “Older American systems are a possibility.”

Brown told Reuters in an interview on the way to the Aspen Security Forum that the United States and its allies were considering different ideas to create a long-term program to train Ukrainian pilots and modernize their air force. .

He added during his remarks in Colorado on Wednesday that Ukraine’s success in fighting Russia since war broke out there earlier this year is a sign of the benefits of cooperation between the U.S. and Ukrainian militaries.

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