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US to send Bradley vehicles to Ukraine as part of new aid package

<i>Delil souleiman/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>A US Bradley fighting vehicle patrols the countryside of the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province In April of 2022. The United States will supply Ukraine with Bradley fighting vehicles as part of a new security assistance package to the country.
AFP via Getty Images
Delil souleiman/AFP/Getty Images
A US Bradley fighting vehicle patrols the countryside of the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province In April of 2022. The United States will supply Ukraine with Bradley fighting vehicles as part of a new security assistance package to the country.

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

The United States will supply Ukraine with Bradley fighting vehicles as part of a new security assistance package to the country as it nears the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

The nearly $3 billion package is among the largest packages of military equipment sent from the Pentagon to Ukraine since the war began. It comes as Ukraine prepares for intensive fighting in the spring as the weather warms.

Biden affirmed the new commitment in a telephone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday. Germany will also send Ukraine new fighting vehicles, along with a Patriot missile battery to protect against Russian air attacks.

The new security package comes as Russia intensifies its attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who visited the White House last month, has called for additional assistance from western nations to protect against Russian aggression. He said the support was not “charity” but “an investment in the global security and democracy.”

The Bradley fighting vehicle, which moves on tracks rather than wheels, can hold around 10 troops and is used to transport personnel into battle.

Germany will provide Marder infantry fighting vehicles — heavily armed armored vehicles used to move soldiers around the battlefield — and an additional Patriot air defense battery, German ambassador to the US Emily Haber said Thursday. The Marder is an infantry fighting vehicle used by the German military since the early 1970s but continuously upgraded. The military is in the process of phasing it out, but hundreds are still in service.

The White House said the US and Germany would provide training to Ukrainian forces on the respective vehicles being provided to Kyiv.

During Zelensky’s visit to the White House last month, Biden announced the US would provide Ukraine a Patriot missile system, along with the required training. It was the first system of its kind pledged to Ukraine.

Those systems had been at the top of Zelensky’s wish list because it will allow his military to target Russian missiles flying at a higher altitude than they were able to target previously.

The US has provided other armored vehicles to Ukraine in the past, including Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and armored utility vehicles. The US also paid for the refurbishment of Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

At this time, the US is not prepared to send M-1 Abrams tanks, despite repeated Ukrainian requests, two defense officials said.

On their phone call, Biden and Scholz “expressed their common determination to continue to provide the necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine for as long as needed,” a joint statement read.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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CNN’s Fred Pleitgen in Rome and Chris Stern in Berlin contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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