According to US defense sources, after relying largely on airplanes early in Russia’s invasion to bring weaponry to Kyiv as swiftly as possible, the Pentagon has extended its use of marine transportation to supply weapons for the fight in Ukraine.
The Defense Department began supplying some things by water a few weeks after the invasion, but the operation was greatly expanded this spring, when the US began providing Ukraine with howitzer artillery and other heavy weaponry that required a regular flow of large-caliber ammunition, according to US defense officials here at the headquarters of US Transportation Command, which Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks recently visited.
The expansion marks the beginning of a new phase in the battle, after a Russian assault on Kyiv was repulsed and Ukraine and its supporters settled in for what is likely to be a grinding struggle that might last months, if not years.
Since the February 24 invasion, the Biden administration has authorized $12.9 billion in military aid for Ukraine, with an extra $2.98 billion committed on Wednesday, Ukraine’s independence day.
U.S. military sources declined to specify particular methods used to get weapons to Ukraine but claimed that some weapons from the continental United States are being used directly on the battlefield, while others are being used to refill American stores elsewhere in Europe from where U.S. military authorities pulled supplies to equip Ukraine.
More than 1,400 anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, 8,500 Javelin anti-armor missiles (important in destroying Russian tanks), 700 Switchblade drones, and 142 pieces of howitzer artillery with over 900,000 rounds have been sent to Ukraine so far.
Following the new $3 billion promise, senior Pentagon officials stated on Wednesday that they expect significantly more military support to go to Ukraine.