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Ukraine updates: US to send $6 billion in war aid to Kyiv

Published April 26, 2024last updated April 26, 2024

The $6 billion in long-term military aid to Ukraine is part of the recent package approved by Congress and includes interceptor missiles for for the Patriot air defense system. DW has more.

155mm artillery shells that are crated and ready to be shipped
US Congress recently approved $61 billion in military aid for UkraineImage: Hannah Beier/Getty Images
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

The US government said it would provide $6 billion in military aid for Ukraine on Friday via the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which handles long-term contracts.

The aid will include sought-after munitions for Patriot air defense systems, the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAM), the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), Switchblade and Puma drones, as well as counter-drone systems and artillery.

Here's a look at the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine on Friday, April 26. 

Skip next section US sends new Patriot air defense missiles to Ukraine
April 26, 2024

US sends new Patriot air defense missiles to Ukraine

The newly announced US aid package of $6 billion will include interceptors for the Patriot and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) air defense systems, along with precision munitions and counter-drone systems, according to the Biden administration.

The missiles will be used to replenish previously supplied Patriot air defense systems.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made repeated appeals for more Patriot systems and to protect Ukrainian cities and infrastructure from Russian attacks.

At a Pentagon press conference following a virtual meeting of Ukraine's allies, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the US was continuing to work with allies to resource additional Patriot systems. 

"It's not just Patriot that they need, they need other types of systems and interceptors as well," Austin said. "I would caution us all in terms of making Patriot the silver bullet."

Zelenskyy told the virtrual meeting that so far this year, Russian fighter aircraft have already used more than 9,000 guided aerial bombs against Ukraine.

"We need the ability to shoot down the air combat aircraft so that they do not approach our positions and borders," Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine's Kuleba presses NATO on Patriot missile system

Skip next section US providing $6 billion defense aid package for Ukraine
April 26, 2024

US providing $6 billion defense aid package for Ukraine

On Friday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced $6 billion worth of new military aid for Ukraine, as part of a larger $61 billion aid package signed off on by US President Joe Biden earlier this week. 

"I'm... pleased to announce today an additional commitment of $6 billion through our Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative," Austin told journalists, saying it will allow the procurement of new capabilities for Kyiv from US industry.

The new funding will help replenish Patriot air defense systems and will include HIMARS, Switchblade and Puma drones, counter-drone systems and artillery.

The package is the second tranche released this week, and follows another valued at $1 billion that was announced just after Biden signed a much-delayed bill to provide new funding for Ukraine as it struggles to hold back Russian advances.

Zelenskyy thanks US, calls approved aid 'lifesaving'

Skip next section Germany will support rebuilding Ukraine with the help of 'international skilled labor'
April 26, 2024

Germany will support rebuilding Ukraine with the help of 'international skilled labor'

"The reconstruction of Ukraine is already beginning" and Germany will support Ukraine on this path through an international initiative for skilled labor, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze said on Friday.

The minister said that together with international organizations and other states Germany is working on an international initiative called "SkillsAlliance for Ukraine."

The initiative aims to address the shortage of labor in the health sector, in reconstruction and home building. In the energy sector, approximately 8,000 workers have been trained since the start of the war, Schulze said.

The project targets the education of young people, women and internally displaced people within the country. Ukrainians who are currently living abroad as refugees can also join the initiative by completing special training outside Ukraine.

The cost of Ukraine's reconstruction is €150 billion ($161 billion), the European Commission has estimated.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Oleksiy Makeev said support for Ukrainian specialists within the country is "very welcome."

"The Russians' goal is clearly to destroy Ukraine and create conditions so that people can no longer live there," he said, adding that it is not just about weapons, financing or generators but about people who "immediately rebuild what has been destroyed by Russia."

War, grief, and rebuilding in Ukraine

Skip next section Spain to send 'small number' of Patriot missiles to Ukraine, Spanish newspaper says
April 26, 2024

Spain to send 'small number' of Patriot missiles to Ukraine, Spanish newspaper says

Spain will send a small number of Patriot missiles to Ukraine, El Pais reported.

The Spanish newspaper quoted unnamed government sources as saying the country ruled out sending launchers for the surface-to-air systems and will only provide missiles for the Patriot defense system.

"The transfer of a small number of missiles has come after the defence ministry refused to hand over to Ukraine the battery it has had deployed since 2013 on the Turkish-Syrian border," the report read.

"It will be a very limited number, as the Spanish war reserve is around 50 units and interceptors are very expensive," the report added.

Last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO "has mapped out existing capabilities across the alliance, and there are systems that can be made available to Ukraine." He did not name the countries that possess Patriots.

The Patriot is a guided missile system that can target aircraft, cruise missiles and shorter-range ballistic missiles.

A key advantage of the US-made systems, apart from their effectiveness, is that Ukrainian troops are already trained to use them. 

Germany to send new Patriot air defense system to Ukraine

Skip next section 'Put pressure on Russia to liberate Zaporizhzhia power plant,' Zelenskyy says
April 26, 2024

'Put pressure on Russia to liberate Zaporizhzhia power plant,' Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for the international community to "put pressure  on Russia to ensure the liberation of the Zaporizhzhia power plant (ZNPP)," Europe's largest nuclear power facility, and to protect "all Ukrainian nuclear facilities from Russian strikes."

Friday marks the 38th anniversary of the Chernobylnuclear disaster that occurred on April 26, 1986.

Zelenskyy pointed out that Russian forces have controlled ZNPP for 785 days. 

The Ukrainian leaders recalled the Russian occupation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 2022

"For 35 days in 2022, Russia occupied the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Russian soldiers looted laboratories, captured guards and abused personnel, as well as used the station to launch further military operations." 

The Chernobyl disaster near the city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine is considered one of the worst nuclear power plant accidents in history in terms of costs and casualties. 

Ukrainians prepare for nuclear disaster near Chernobyl

Skip next section Ukrainian agriculture minister detained on multimillion-dollar corruption charges
April 26, 2024

Ukrainian agriculture minister detained on multimillion-dollar corruption charges

An anti-corruption court of Ukraine ordered Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky held in custody until June 24, prosecutors said Friday. Bail was set at 75.7 million hryvnias (€1.8 million, $1.9 million). If found guilty, he could receive a sentence of up to 12 years in prison.

The minister is suspected of illegally seizing state land worth 291 million hryvnias and attempting to seize land worth another 190 million hryvnias when he was the head of a major farming company and a member of parliament from 2017 to 2021. He was named agriculture minister in March 2022. 

A portrait of Mykola Solsky, agriculture minister of Ukraine, attending Ministerial Meeting.
Solsky was elected to Ukraine's parliament in 2019 and was appointed agriculture minister in March 2022.Image: Pacific Press/picture alliance

According to prosecutors, the illegally seized land belonged to two state-owned enterprises. 

Solsky resigned, denied any wrongdoing and promised to cooperate with the probe.

In addition to Solsky, a dozen other officials are suspected in the case.

Skip next section US plans next tranche of Ukraine aid
April 26, 2024

US plans next tranche of Ukraine aid

The United States government is planning a new multi-billion-dollar military aid package to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia's ongoing invasion, the AP news agency reported citing US officials. 

US news outlet Politico also reported that the government was preparing to sign off on a $6 billion (€ 5.6 billion) long-term military aid package. 

This would be a second installment from the $61 billion military aid approved by the US Congress and signed into action by President Joe Biden this week. 

The plan could become public as early as Friday. 

The aid package will be funded through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, two US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told Politico, which pays for longer-term contracts with the defense industry. 

It also reported that the $6 billion comprises contracts to be awarded to US defense companies to build new equipment for Ukraine as part of a US funding program. This means it could be months or years before the weapons arrive in Ukraine.

Meanwhile AP reported that the $6 billion package — the largest tranche of USAI aid sent to date — will include a wide array of munitions for air defense, such as the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAM), the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), as well as the Patriot munitions, Switchblade and Puma drones, counter-drone systems and artillery.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to convene a virtual meeting on Friday of defense officials from Europe and around the world — known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group — to discuss international aid for Ukraine. 

Ukraine short on weapons as Russia steps up attacks

mk/sms (AP, DPA, Reuters, AFP)