(John Ransom, Headline USA) The Biden administration is shipping $800 million worth of military equipment to Ukraine in order to block Russian attempts at cutting off eastern Ukraine from the rest of the country.
Russia has been in the process of regrouping and repositioning forces through a series of small offensives to start a new, larger offensive.
⚡️US military assistance shipments “have begun arriving” in Ukraine, White House official tells CNN on April 16.
The assistance includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons, and 300 more Switchblade drones.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 17, 2022
“We think these offensives are preludes to larger offensive operations that the Russians plan to conduct,” said a Defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share new details from the Pentagon’s assessment of the war, according to CNBC.
Since the start of the Biden presidency, the White House has given Ukraine $3.2 billion in direct aid.
The US, under the latest aid package, is providing 18 howitzers of 155mm and 40,000 rounds of ammo, with US troops training Ukrainian soldiers outside Ukraine how to work the pieces, reported CBS News.
“The artillery is a specific item the Ukrainians asked for because of the specific fighting they expect is going to occur in the Donbas,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told a press briefing.
“And we know the Russians also believe the same thing because we see them moving artillery units into the Donbas as well.”
The aid package also includes AN/TPQ-36 counterartillery and AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel air surveillance radar systems, plus 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers and 11 Mi-17 helicopters. The helicopters will augment the five Mi-17 helicopters sent to Ukraine earlier this year, said the Pentagon.
The Mi-17 Is actually a Russian helicopter that the US purchased for use in Afghanistan because of its ability to lift in hot and heavy air. It’s designed as both a medium lift and an attack helicopter.
The army purchased 30 of the Mi-17s from Russia in 2013, said the trade magazine Military Aerospace.
As the war enters a new and more violent phase, it could be setting up for the largest tank battle since the first Gulf War as Ukraine deploys its reserve tank brigades, according to Forbes.