The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Pentagon to ‘rush’ Patriot missiles to Ukraine in $6bn package

The Pentagon says it will “rush” Patriot air defence missiles and artillery ammunition to Ukraine as part of its new military aid package. The US will utilise $6bn (£4.8bn) for this purpose, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin revealed on Friday. However, Patriot systems for launching the missiles will not be sent. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Patriots were “urgently” needed to face a growing Russian air threat and “can and should save lives right now”. A source confirmed to the BBC that the $6bn was part of a $60bn aid package signed into law by US President Joe Biden on Wednesday, which also includes $1bn in more immediate aid. Mr Austin told a news conference that the US was committing to its largest security assis tance package to date and would “move immediately” to get the supplies to Ukraine. These would include air defence munitions, counter-drone systems and artillery ammunition but not Patriot missile systems. “It’s not just Patriots that they [the Ukrainians] need, they need other types of systems and interceptors as well,” Mr Austin said. “I would caution us all in terms of making Patriot the silver bullet.” He added that he was confident that more of the missile systems would be made available for Kyiv soon. Conversations were ongoing with European partners, he said, to deliver additional capabilities. The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Charles Brown, said the assistance should eliminate the Ukrainians’ need to ration shells on the frontline. Some of the latest funding would also go to building up Ukraine’s own defence industry, so that it can start manufacturing more of the ammunition it desperately needs. Mr Austin said Russia had already increased domestic production of artillery ammunition and other weapons – as well as being propped up by supplies from Iran and North Korea. “Understand what’s at stake for Ukraine, for Europe, and for the United States,” he said. “If Putin prevails in Ukraine – Europe would face a security threat it hasn’t seen in a lifetime. Russia will not stop in Ukraine.” Asked whether the US aid would protect Ukrainian forces, Mr Austin said that the commitment was “material, real, and substantial” although “not instantaneous”. BBC

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.