US will provide Soviet-made tanks in new $400m aid package for Ukraine

The new defence aid package includes T-72 tanks and refurbished HAWK surface-to-air missile systems, with the latter coming from US stockpiles

Andrew Feinberg
Friday 04 November 2022 19:15 GMT
Moment armoured vehicle carrying fleeing Russian soldiers flips over on road

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Friday announced that the US government is providing a new $400m defence assistance package to Ukraine which will include refurbished Soviet-made T-72 tanks, aerial drones and refurbished surface-to-air missile systems to augment the man-portable air defence systems the US has already provided.

Mr Sullivan made the announcement following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, and Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov, according to a statement released by the National Security Council.

The visit by President Joe Biden’s top national security aide was meant to “underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine and its people as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House said.

Also listed among the equipment to be transferred to Ukrainian forces as part of the aid package are refurbished MIM-23 HAWK missile systems, which will be provided under Mr Biden’s “drawdown authority” allowing him to provide allies with existing stocks of weapons.

The HAWK system — which stands for “Homing All The Way Killer” — would be an upgrade from the Stinger man-portable air defence system which Ukrainian forces have been employing against Russian jets and cruise missiles.

Although HAWK dates back to the Vietnam era, the systems have recieved multiple upgrades over the years and although it was last fielded by the US Marine Corps in 2020, it has remained popular with US allies and is currently employed by Turkish and Iraqi defence forces.

The White House also said Mr Sullivan “affirmed the continued provision of economic and humanitarian assistance” to Mr Zelensky’s government in addition to the defence assistance package.

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