US to give Ukraine new Patriot missiles as part of $6 billion aid package

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday announced the United States will provide key air defense munitions and artillery rounds to Ukraine as part of a $6 billion military aid package that is its largest ever for Kyiv.

The package is the second this week, following another valued at $1 billion that was announced just after US President Joe Biden signed a much-delayed bill to provide new funding for Ukraine as it struggles to hold back Russian advances.

"This is the largest security assistance package that we've committed to date," Austin told journalists following the conclusion of a virtual meeting of dozens of Kyiv's international supporters.

"They need air defense interceptors, they need artillery systems and munitions. They need... armored vehicles, they need maintenance and sustainment. So all of those kinds of things are included" in the package," he said.

Ukraine has in recent months pleaded for more air defenses from its Western allies as it struggles to fend off a surge in deadly attacks on civilian infrastructure, and the new package includes interceptors for both Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems.

"While we were waiting for a decision on the American support, the Russian army managed to seize the initiative on the battlefield," Zelensky said.

'Retake the initiative'

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