Washington, April 28 (IANS) Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby announced that more than half of US howitzers are in Ukraine today and the first tranche of soldiers from the war-torn nation have been trained in how to use the long-ranged weapon system.
“Munitions continue to flow into Ukraine, as well as weapon systems . Those soldiers will go back to Ukraine and teach their fellow soldiers as those batteries stand up,” Kirby said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
He also claimed that the equipment being sent to Ukraine is “having an effect on the battlefield” and is making a difference on the battle lines in the eastern Donbas region, the site of the major Russian effort in Ukraine.
Kirby, who just returned from a trip with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Europe, said the fight in the Donbas is active and kinetic.
“Ukrainian officials told Austin that the equipment, coming from 40 different countries, is allowing Ukrainian forces to hold their own against the Russian invasion,” the Press Secretary was quoted as saying.
“In Europe, Austin said the US and partner nations will continue to get the equipment and supplies the Ukrainians need to the country.”
Kirby further said that US officials were in constant contact with Ukraine’s military to ensure the right mix of weapons and ammunition arrive in time.
“We know they’re expending rounds, every single day, of all different types and calibers . And we’re doing everything we can to continue to make sure that they can stay (in the) fight,” he said.
Last week, President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, which includes heavy artillery weapons, dozens of Howitzers, 144,000 rounds of ammunition to go with the Howitzers, as well as additional tactical drones.
Since the war started on February 24, the US has so far sent “thousands of anti-armour and anti-(air) missiles, helicopters, drones, grenade launchers, machine guns, rifles, radar systems”, as well as “more than 50 million rounds of ammunition”, Biden claimed.
“The US alone has provided 10 anti-armour systems for every one Russian tank that’s in Ukraine — a 10 to 1 ratio.”
Till date, the US has provided $1 billion worth of economic support to Ukraine.