The Biden administration on Wednesday announced a new military aid package for Ukraine, but noted that U.S. weaponry shouldn’t be used to strike within Russia.
The announcement comes after Moscow was attacked by drones on May 30, which resulted in minor damage to several apartment buildings. Ukraine has denied any involvement in the attack, although the Kremlin has blamed it on Kyiv. The Epoch Times was unable to verify assertions made by either side.
U.S. officials have said there is no suggestion that U.S.-made drones or munitions were used in the Moscow strikes. The Biden administration has said it has made clear to Ukraine that U.S.-made weapons should not be used for attacks inside Russian territory, citing the risk of escalation.
“We have been very clear with the Ukrainians privately—we’ve certainly been clear publicly—that we do not support attacks inside Russia. We do not enable and we do not encourage attacks inside Russia,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a briefing at the White House.
Kirby noted, however, that U.S. officials don’t have control over Kyiv’s military.
“We don’t tell them where to strike. We don’t tell them, you know, where not to strike. We don’t tell them how to conduct their operations,” he said.
“We give them equipment. We give them training. We give them advice and counsel. Heck, we even do tabletop exercises with them to help them plan out what they’re going to do. But ultimately, President Zelenskyy and his military commanders decide what they’re going to do from a military perspective, and they decide what they’re going to do with the equipment that has been provided to them and that they now own.”
The Russia-Ukraine war has persisted since Feb. 24, 2022, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Kyiv.
“Russia has continued to wage a brutal, completely unprovoked war against Ukraine, launching yet more airstrikes and bombarding Ukrainian cities across the country,” Kirby told reporters. “In response, the United States is going to continue to help give them things that they need to better defend themselves.”
Russia recently mounted 17 separate air assaults targeting Kyiv in May. According to Kirby, the attacks harmed civilians and hit critical civilian infrastructure.
The latest $300 million military aid is the 39th drawdown of the Defense Department inventories for Ukraine since August 2021. This package will use presidential drawdown authority, which allows the Pentagon to take weapons from its own stocks and quickly ship them to Ukraine.
According to the Pentagon, the new package includes munitions to help Ukraine defend its airspace.
This includes more munitions for Patriot missile batteries and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), as well as Avenger air defense systems, Stinger antiaircraft systems, and AIM-7 missiles for air defense.
It also includes more artillery and anti-armor capabilities, precision aerial munitions, mine-clearing equipment, unguided Zuni aircraft rockets, night vision goggles, and more.
The Biden administration has committed more than $37.6 billion in military aid for Ukraine since February 2022, the Pentagon said.
At a meeting last week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said it was important to boost Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.
“One of Ukraine’s most urgent requirements is ground-based air defense,” Austin said at the 12th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
“And this contact group will continue driving hard to help Ukraine defend the skies. In recent weeks, Russia has intensified its sordid bombardment of Ukrainian cities and infrastructure. And the Kremlin’s cruelty only underscores Ukraine’s need for a stronger, layered ground-based air defense architecture.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times