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Ukraine given reprieve with U.S. aid package after months of delays

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Ukrainian servicemen monitor the situation along the front via drones in the direction of Kreminna, Ukraine as Russia-Ukraine war continues on 31 March 2024.

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

Ukraine received a vital reprieve from the U.S. at the weekend after the House of Representatives passed a $61 billion foreign aid package for Kyiv following months of delays and objections from hardline Republicans.

The bill, which includes additional aid for Israel and Taiwan, now passes to the Democratic-majority Senate which is expected to approve the legislation this week before it’s passed to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked U.S. lawmakers in the House for passing the bill, saying it “will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger.”

But on social media platform X Sunday, Zelenskyy urged the Senate to pass the bill as quickly as possible, warning that “the time between political decisions and actual damage to the enemy on the front lines, between the package’s approval and our warriors’ strengthening, must be as short as possible.”

Time is of the essence for Ukraine, which has been pleading for more air defense systems, artillery and ammunition as its forces struggle to hold back a tide of Russian offensives in eastern Ukraine.

Defense analysts argue that while the funding could help bring new life and morale into Ukraine’s beleaguered military campaign, new aid and supplies must be sent to Ukraine immediately.

“Ukrainian forces may suffer additional setbacks in the coming weeks while waiting for U.S. security assistance that will allow Ukraine to stabilize the front, but they will likely be able to blunt the current Russian offensive assuming the resumed US assistance arrives promptly,” analysts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War think tank noted.

“Russian forces will likely intensify ongoing offensive operations and missile and drone strikes in the coming weeks in order to exploit the closing window of Ukrainian materiel constraints,” the ISW said in analysis published Sunday.

A crewmember of the Czech-made DANA 152mm self-propelled gun-howitzer prepares the howitzer for firing onto Russian positions near the occupied Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on March 1, 2024 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. 

Roman Chop | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images

In the immediate term, Ukraine’s priority is to replenish artillery as well as air defense systems and missile stocks that have been depleted by recent Russian airstrikes, particularly those targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Matthew Savill, the military sciences director at London-based defense think tank RUSI, noted that while procurement of new materiel might create a lag, the Pentagon said some military hardware had been pre-prepared for donation to Ukraine in a bid to minimize delivery time.

“It’s unlikely this will create immediate parity with the Russian volume of…

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