The Biden administration has announced a new $275 million package of weapons and other aid for Ukraine in but the latest of what's become a seeming endless money and arms pipeline to Kiev at the American taxpayer's expense.
According to the AP, while there are no new major weapons systems included, the new aid is "largely aimed at restocking thousands of rounds of ammunition for weapons systems already there, including for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, which Ukraine has been successfully using in its counteroffensive against Russia."
A Western official told reporters earlier this month that NATO has started focusing on helping Ukraine forces gear up for winter. The official said, "The Ukrainians are on their front foot, and they certainly feel prepared for the winter campaign," and that foreign aid is currently "very much [focused on] the winter."
The fresh aid announcement was accompanied by a newly published State Department plan aimed at increasingly accountability and weapons tracking, after multiple reports confirming that in many cases the US doesn't actually know where the weapons end up.
"Helping to ensure Ukraine maintains control of its territory is a primary means to limit potential illicit diversion of weapons by Russia’s forces, Russia’s proxies, and non-state actors," the State Dept. said, explaining the difficulty of close tracking due to the lack of US troop presence on the ground.
This new arms accountability plan will focus on three areas, according to a comprehensive document:
- Bolstering the ability of security forces in Ukraine and its neighboring states to account for and safeguard their arms and ammunition during transfer, in storage, and when deployed;
- Strengthening border management and security in Ukraine and its neighboring states; and
- Building the capacity of security forces, law enforcement officials, and border control agencies in Ukraine and its neighboring states to deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking of certain advanced conventional weapons.
Meanwhile, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby has addressed some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments in his major Thursday Valdai Discussion Club annual address. Putin had strongly denied Western charges that he signaled readiness to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Kirby had this interesting exchange with reporters, wherein he confirmed that so far the US sees no evidence of any WMD being readied by Russian forces in Ukraine:
Kirby added that the US sees no indication the Russians plan to use a “dirty bomb” — a weapon combining conventional explosions with uranium — or other nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
Putin had said in his speech on the question of using nuclear weapons: "There is no point in that, neither political, nor military." He underscored, "it doesn't make sense for us to do it."
He also emphasized that Russia had "never said anything proactively about the possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia."