The US Defense Department has started sending the shipment of weapons to Ukraine by sea, according to The Washington Post citing US defense officials.
Ships are able to transport large quantities of cargo, despite being slower than aircraft, which could allow Kyiv to build up a bigger weapons arsenal, the newspaper said on Saturday (local time).
The Pentagon started sending weapons to Ukraine by sea “a few weeks” after Russia started its special military operation at the end of February, but maritime shipping has been broadened significantly this spring, US defense officials told The Washington Post.
“Once we started to provide them howitzers, we knew that we were going to need more ammunition,” said Army Col.
Steven Putthoff, the deputy director of operations at US Transportation Command. “So, we could plan ahead a little bit more, and then we could start to use more sealift to provide that support and to get it there sometimes even ahead of the request,” he said, as quoted by The Washington Post.
The US Defence Department had earlier announced that it would provide a new USD 775 million in additional military assistance to Ukraine, including HIMARS missiles, artillery, and mine-clearing systems.
Earlier this week, the United States announced a new USD 2.98 billion package of military aid for Ukraine, which includes six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which finances the US defense industry to boost production of certain weapons.
Most of the previous security packages for Ukraine were presidential drawdown packages that sent weapons and equipment from the US national defense stockpile. However, the United States does not have NASAMS in stock that are immediately available for Ukraine.