US releases US$270m in military aid to Ukraine, including rocket systems

A Ukrainian soldier stands on a captured Russian armoured personnel carrier near Soledar, in Ukraine's Donetsk region. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Friday (July 22) signed off on another US$270 million (S$375 million) in military aid to Ukraine including four new Himars precision rocket systems.

Russia has "launched deadly strikes across the country, striking malls, apartment buildings, killing innocent Ukrainian civilians," White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

"In the face of these atrocities, the president has made clear that we're going to continue to support the government of Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes," he said.

The fresh aid will bring to 20 the number of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems sent to Ukraine, which has called the Himars - which can precisely strike targets within 80 kilometres - a game-changer in countering Russia.

Kirby said the fresh aid will also include 500 new Phoenix Ghosts, small and highly portable drones that detonate on their targets.

The latest aid also includes 36,000 rounds of artillery ammunition.

Much but not all of the aid comes from a US$40 billion package for Ukraine approved by Congress in May.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov earlier this week voiced hope that the United States would provide as many as 100 Himars units, saying they could turn the tide against Russian invaders.

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