Russia is continuing its campaign of terror attacks on Ukraine as it targets civilian infrastructure, said senior defense officials.
The Ukrainian military has been able to defend against some of the Russian attacks, but air defense remains a priority. “Damage to the electric grid and water supply are serious concerns directly harming the civilian population,” a senior defense official said.
The United States is working with the Ukrainian military, allies and partners to improve Ukraine’s defenses.
The United States has already provided 1,400 Stinger short-range air defense weapons. Allies and partners have also provided short-range air defense.
The U.S. has committed to sending eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems – NASAMs – to Ukraine. Two of those systems are being sent in the next few weeks with the others to follow. Ukrainian soldiers are already being trained to use the system, which shoots many different missiles. NASAMs can defend against a wide range of airborne threats.
“We also have committed to a suite of counter, unmanned aerial systems, including the Vampire system and other radar systems,” officials said.
And more is being done. “The U.S. also helped support Slovakia’s donation of an S-300 system earlier in the war,” the official said. “This was incredibly important to protect Ukrainian infrastructure at that point in time, and the U.S. also sourced many spare parts to keep Ukraine’s Soviet-type air defense systems up and running.”
Germany and Spain have recently sent air defense systems to Ukraine. A key to this is integrating all of these systems from many different nations to protect Ukraine, and that remains an on-going effort.
The senior defense official said the latest tranche of security assistance the United States will provide Ukraine includes additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS; 500 rounds of precision-guided 155 millimeter artillery rounds; and more than 1,300 anti-armor systems, including the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon. The package – valued at $275 million – also includes Humvees and satellite communications antennas.
On the ground, the battle continues with Russia’s attack on infrastructure causing widespread power outages. In and around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, Ukrainian forces have liberated some additional villages as they continue to press toward the east. Russian forces in this area are focused on reinforcing their defensive lines.
Farther south, Russian forces are attempting to pursue offensive operations. In Kherson, “we continue to see deliberate and calibrated operations by Ukrainian forces as they press Russian forces along the three main axes,” a senior military official said. “We assess that the Russians in this area continue to reinforce their defensive lines, as well.”
U.S. officials said they’re tracking the reports and Russian statements regarding an alleged attack against Russian navy vessels in Sevastopol, a city in Crimea.