10:55 24 Feb 2023

Pentagon: Aid to Ukraine "will change the dynamics" of war

The United States believes that providing weapons to Ukraine and training the Armed Forces of Ukraine will "change the dynamics on the battlefield" and allow Ukrainian forces to "breach russian defenses."

"We're training and equipping several brigades of mechanized infantry — that's a pretty substantial capability," US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in an interview with CNN on Thursday. "In addition to that, additional artillery, and so they'll have the ability to breach russian defenses and maneuver, and I think that will create a different dynamic." 

Austin's comments come as russia's war in Ukraine reaches its first anniversary. It also comes after a highly secretive and surprise visit to Kyiv by President Joe Biden, which sought to send a clear message about the power of the two nations' collaboration to russian president putin.

Austin also reaffirmed the consistent position of the Biden administration that the United States will stand with Ukraine as long as necessary.

"As long as Ukraine continues to conduct operations and continues to work to take back its sovereign territory, we'll be there with them," he said, adding that "the international community will be with Ukraine once the fighting stops."

The US has already provided $29.8 billion of aid since the beginning of russia's invasion. Recently that has included significant items like the Patriot missile system and M1 Abrams tanks. Those additional capabilities will make all the difference, Austin said.

"I think the things that we're doing, the capability that we're providing — again, capability, not just a platform — the capabilities that we're providing, I think will enable the Ukrainians begin to change the dynamics on the battlefield," he said. "And so rather than having a stalemate, what you'll probably see is Ukrainians shaping this fight so they can create opportunities for themselves and exploit those opportunities going forward." 

On Friday, the US administration plans to allocate $2 billion in defense aid to the Ukrainian side from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) fund. Ukraine is also expected to receive economic and energy security support.

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