Ukraine war: US military aid for Kyiv, frozen Russian assets, Europe rearmament

The US said it would provide an additional $275 million (€253m) in military aid for Ukraine as Kyiv struggles to hold off Moscow’s offensive in the east. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the package “part of our efforts to help Ukraine repel Russia’s assault near Kharkiv.”

“Assistance from previous packages has already made it to the front lines, and we will move this new assistance as quickly as possible so the Ukrainian military can use it to defend their territory and protect the Ukrainian people,” he said in a statement.

“The United States and the international coalition we have assembled will continue to stand with Ukraine in its defence of its freedom,” Blinken added.

High-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), munitions and much-needed artillery rounds are included in the package, along with Javelin and AT-4 antitank systems, antitank mines, tactical vehicles, small arms and ammo. 

Washington has now provided almost $51 billion (€47bn) in military assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

G7 eyes frozen Russian assets to bankroll Ukraine

The G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – will look into using income from frozen Russian assets to aid Ukraine. 

Some $300 billion (€276bn) of Russian assets were frozen by the G7 following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. 

Servicemen of Ukraine fire on Russian forces in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on 22/05/24.

“We are making progress in our discussions on potential avenues to bring forward the extraordinary profits stemming from immobilised Russian sovereign assets to the benefit of Ukraine,”  G7 financial chiefs said in a draft statement released on Saturday. 

Europe should rearm: Polish foreign minister

Poland’s foreign minister has urged Europe to ramp up its defences. 

Speaking to The Guardian, Radosław Sikorski said a long-term rearmament of the continent was essential to thwart Russian imperial ambitions. 

He called for a 5,000-strong EU brigade of troops and said Warsaw could back an EU-wide scheme to incentivise Ukrainian draft dodgers to return home to serve. 

A significant number of Ukrainian men have fled to Poland, but measures to bolster Ukraine’s depleted ranks with more soldiers remain controversial. 

Striking a hawkish tone, Sikorski said Poland supported Ukrainian strikes on military targets inside Russia, arguing the West should stop limiting what it says and does in support of Kyiv. 

Several other European states are more cautious, fearing Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory with Western weapons could escalate tensions and risk dragging Europe into a wider war. 

Sikorski has been pivotal in bringing Poland back in line with European foreign policy after eight years of rule by the rightwing nationalist Law and Justice party.

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