Defense and national security – Ukraine receives an additional $1 billion worth of weapons

The United States has given the go-ahead to the largest military assistance program to Ukraine to date, preparing to send $1 billion in munitions for advanced rocket systems, vehicles and explosives to help the country to repel the Russian invasion.

We’ll detail what’s in the latest package and how it’s helping Kyiv, as well as more information on new Russian casualty estimates, prolonged Chinese war games near Taiwan, a recovered fighter jet that blew up an aircraft carrier. last month and the next step for the next bill to be signed dealing with toxic exposure for veterans.

It’s Defense and National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and beyond. For The Hill, I’m Ellen Mitchell.

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Pentagon unveils deadliest aid for Ukraine

The Pentagon on Monday announced a billion-dollar military assistance package for Ukraine, aid in the form of ammunition for advanced rocket systems, vehicles and explosives to help it in its fight against Russia. .

The new assistance package will include ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), as well as 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition and 50 armored medical treatment vehicles, according to a ministry statement. of the defense.

The greatest of all time“This is the largest collection of American weapons and equipment using this authority, and this package provides a significant amount of additional ammunition, weapons and equipment – the types that the Ukrainian people use so effectively to defend his country,” according to the statement.

The US government has now approved nearly $10 billion in security assistance for Ukraine across 18 programs since August 2021.

soon too: The latest arms tranche coincides with recently announced $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid for the Ukrainian government, the Treasury Department said Monday. This funding will be provided to Ukraine in batches, starting with a disbursement of $3 billion this month.

What else is in it: The final Lethal Aid set will also include 20 120mm Mortar Systems and 20,000 120mm Mortar Shells; ammunition for national advanced surface-to-air missile systems; 1,000 Javelins and hundreds of AT4 armor-piercing systems; claymore antipersonnel ammunition; C-4 explosives, demolition munitions and demolition equipment; and medical supplies, according to the Pentagon.

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The Russian military has suffered around 70,000 to 80,000 casualties since it first attacked Ukraine in late February, the Pentagon’s top policy official said Monday.

“The Russians are suffering a huge number of casualties,” Colin Kahl, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for policy, told reporters.

“There’s a lot of fog in the war, but I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians probably had 70 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months. Now it’s a combination of killed in action and combat casualties and that number could be a little lower, a little higher, but I think it’s a little in the ballpark,” Kahl said.

Previous estimates: The number of Russian casualties is higher than previous US estimates. CIA Director William Burns estimated late last month that 15,000 Russians died in Ukraine and some 45,000 were injured.

Burns admitted, however, that intelligence estimates of battlefield casualties are “always a range” and “there is no perfect number”.

‘Outstanding’: Kahl said the number of Russian casualties is “remarkable” given that Moscow has “achieved none of Vladimir Putin’s goals” since invading Ukraine six months ago.

He attributed the numbers to Ukrainian morale and will to fight, which he said is “undisputed and far superior, I think, to morale and will to fight on the Russian side.”

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Biden ‘not worried’ as China extends wargames

President Biden said Monday that he was “not concerned” about China’s aggressive response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California)’s trip last week to Taiwan, adding that he does not think the things will get even worse between the United States and Beijing.

“I’m not worried, but I’m worried that they move as much as they do. But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more,” Biden told reporters.

Current military exercises: The Biden administration has condemned Beijing’s live-fire drills in the waters surrounding Taiwan, which included several Chinese warships and planes crossing the center line of the Taiwan Strait, following Pelosi’s visit.

“They are provocative, irresponsible and increase the risk of miscalculation, which is what the president was referring to,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday, referring to the response. from China.

“They are also at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which the world expects,” she added.

China announced new military exercises around Taiwan on Monday.

Earlier: Pelosi’s visit to Taipei last week made her the highest U.S. official to visit the island in 25 years. The Chinese Foreign Ministry called his visit “a serious impact on the political foundations of China-US relations”.

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Navy recovers F/A-18 that fell in the Mediterranean

An F/A-18 fighter jet that was blown off the deck of the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier into the Mediterranean Sea during inclement weather last month has been recovered, the Navy said Monday.

The more than 32,000-pound F/A-18E Super Hornet, which costs about $50 million, was recovered from a depth of 9,500 feet, according to a Navy statement.

How it was recovered: A team from the US 6th Fleet, Task Force 68, Naval Strike Wing Atlantic and Naval Sea Systems Command recovered the plane last Wednesday using a remotely operated vehicle that placed a special line on the jet .

A crane lifting hook attached to a ship was then lowered to the sea floor and connected to the rigging, enabling him to lift the aircraft to the surface and hoist it aboard.

An unusual incident: The Navy recovered the F/A-18 27 days after it was swept off the deck of the Truman on July 8 while the ship was on an unexpected heavy weather resupply mission.

The incident is highly unusual as the Navy has methods in place to withstand the weather and prevent such incidents, including chaining aircraft.

It was unclear whether such methods were being used at the time of the crash, and the service did not reveal the exact location where the jet was lost or recovered.

And after?: The plane was delivered to an unnamed nearby military installation to be prepared for transport to the United States, according to the Navy.

An investigation into how the plane was first lost has been launched.

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Veterans have scored a victory after the Senate passed a bill that would expand medical coverage for former service members exposed to toxic substances. But after a drawn-out battle that had no shortage of last-minute dramas, their job is far from done.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must now implement the legislation effectively amid concerns about the department’s poor track record and existing backlogs.

Coming soon: President Biden should sign into law Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act on Wednesday, which will expand access to health care and VA benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins during the war.

The VA already encourages veterans to apply for benefits. But going forward, veterans service organizations and other experts say the department will have to buckle down if it wants to implement the legislation as well as possible.

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  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley will deliver remarks at the change of command ceremony for Marine General Michael Langley, who takes over as Retired General Stephen Townsend’s United States Africa Commander at 4 a.m. to rebroadcast at 10 a.m.
  • Lt. Gen. Dan Karbler, Chief, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, and Gen. James Dickinson, Commander, U.S. Space Command, will speak on the first day of the Space Defense Symposium and anti-missile from 9 a.m.
  • The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will host a discussion on “New Nuclear Troubles in South Asia? ” at 10 o’clock
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Gregory Meeks (DN.Y.) will discuss his trip to Asia with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) during a live event from Washington Post at 5 p.m.


That’s all for today! Check out The Hill’s defense and national security pages for the latest coverage. Until tomorrow!


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