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War in Ukraine. Billions of dollars in aid. What could this mean for Ukraine?

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Even today, a security package providing military aid for Ukraine worth nearly $61 billion may be passed by the US Senate and signed by the US president in the following days. What weapons can Ukraine receive and what impact could this have on stopping the Russians? BBC analyzes.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed on Saturday Act on assistance to Ukraine, amounting to USD 60.8 billion. The US Senate will probably vote on the bill this week. Before it enters into force, it must be signed by President Joe Biden.

What could this aid mean for Ukraine? As described by the BBC, the Ukrainian army most urgently needs air defense systems, medium and long-range missiles and artillery shells. In its analysis, the portal indicates what funds could be spent on in these three areas.

Air defense

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Countering the Russian threat of air attacks is essential for Ukraine to protect cities and critical infrastructure such as power plants. Last week, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that this year alone his country had been attacked by almost 1,200 Russian missiles, over 1,500 drones and 8,500 guided bombs.

Ukraine, as the BBC writes, has a variety of systems provided by the West, including Stinger hand-held launchers and the extremely expensive Patriot system. According to Zelensky, Ukraine needs at least seven additional Patriot launchers or their equivalents.

As the BBC points out, Russian cruise and ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of Iranian Shahed drones, are difficult to intercept due to the huge numbers of such missiles or drones launched during subsequent waves of air attacks by the Russian army.

Patriot missile system PAP

Medium and long-range missiles

The portal notes that since October, Ukraine has lost over 580 square kilometers of its eastern territory under the pressure of Russian troops, mainly due to the lack of artillery.

He emphasizes that HIMARS high mobility rocket artillery systems played a key role for Ukraine. According to the BBC, we can expect an increase in the number of such systems in Ukraine and perhaps the delivery of more American tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.

HIMARS system in UkraineSerhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

As the BBC writes, there is information that ATACMS long-range missiles are to be prepared for transfer to Ukraine. Since the end of last year, Ukraine has had their older version. The newer one has twice the range – up to 300 km.

Artillery shells

The BBC emphasizes that artillery shells should not be forgotten. M777 howitzers use 155 mm ammunition. The United States has sent 2,000,000 such missiles to Ukraine since February 2022, and even more are likely to be sent as part of the latest package.

However, delivering equipment to the front line, especially artillery equipment, may take many days or even weeks, which will be further complicated by attacks by Russian forces in the east.

In its analysis, the BBC draws attention to the F-16 issue. Ukrainian pilots and crews continue to train, currently in Romania, on these fighters. These multi-role aircraft could potentially strengthen Ukraine's air defense. Denmark, the Netherlands and the USA declare the delivery of the first of several dozen F-16s to Ukraine within the next few months.

RUSI expert: The US package for Ukraine is important, but it does not equalize the opportunities yet

Matthew Savill, an expert from the London think tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), assessed that the aid package for Ukraine adopted by the US House of Representatives is a significant step towards increasing Ukraine's defense potential, but it must be remembered that not all of it will reach this country and This still means equal opportunities in the war with Russia.

He noted that “much of the (almost) $61 billion (about $13 billion) is intended to replenish US stockpiles.”

– This may allow for other equipment to be donated, but it means that not all the money will go to Ukraine – especially since another $7.3 billion will be allocated to cover the costs of US operations in Europe. About $28 billion was allocated for direct supplies of weapons to Ukraine, of which $13.9 billion to help Ukraine purchase equipment and another $13.7 billion to purchase American systems for Ukraine, Savill explained.

The expert expects that the priority will be artillery – ammunition and launchers – as well as air defense systems and missiles, which will replenish the supplies of the Ukrainian army depleted as a result of recent Russian shelling, especially targeting the local energy infrastructure.

– While procurement of new weapons may take time, the Pentagon has already stated that some items ready for transfer but awaiting approval have been positioned to minimize delivery times. This almost certainly includes 155mm rounds. It is unlikely that this will equalize the firepower on the front, but it will help fill the gap that has recently opened on the Ukrainian side. The armament may also include air defense missiles, which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said would be drawn by other countries from their stockpiles. However, we expect that we will soon reach a point where the production capacity of new missiles will become a significant problem, says Savill.

“Financing predictability will help Ukrainians plan their defense this year.”

According to the expert, the aid package will be welcomed by the Ukrainian military, but it must be remembered that funds from the US will probably only help stabilize the situation on the front this year and begin preparations for the operation in 2025.

– Raising morale and increasing ammunition supplies to strengthen defenses are essential preconditions for starting the hard work of rebuilding Ukraine's combat forces and – most importantly – collective training to build a force that has a chance of making progress next year. Predictability of financing in 2024 and until 2025 will help Ukrainians plan their defense this year, especially if European ammunition deliveries also materialize. However, further funds will be required for 2025. In the meantime, we have (presidential) elections in the USA, the expert pointed out.

Main photo source: Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

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