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US announces new Ukraine package as Pentagon chief visits Kyiv

The U.S. on Monday released a new $100 million aid package for Ukraine, announcing more artillery rounds and anti-aircraft munitions as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made a surprise visit to Kyiv.

The package includes 155 millimeter artillery shells, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, small arms ammunition and Javelin and AT-4 launchers.

Austin said at a Monday press conference in Kyiv that the package will help Ukrainian troops in the coming months “have the means that they’ll need to be successful fighting in the wintertime.”

“There is no silver bullet in a conflict like this. It really depends on providing the right capabilities and also integrating those capabilities in meaningful ways,” he said. “The Ukraine military is a learning organization, and it will continue to learn from from all of its operations.

“I think what’s important is that the military constructs its operations to focus on the objectives and the goals that the president wants to achieve,” he added, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukrainian forces have been bogged down in a stalemate with dug-in Russian forces for most of the year, with only marginal successes since launching a major counteroffensive in June.

Ukraine says it will need a steady supply of support from Western backers to stay in the fight, and the U.S. has vowed to continue supporting Kyiv as long as needed, though approved money is running out as winter closes in.

The Pentagon has said it is pacing out the number of packages to Ukraine as it waits for Congress to pass another round of legislation that could include potentially billions more.

The Republican-controlled House, however, has struggled to pass any Ukraine package as more conservative members have expressed skepticism on future support.

Austin, who has met with new Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), said he “continues to see bipartisan support” in Congress.

“Our congressional members have valid questions that we will answer, but again, I would point out that Ukraine matters,” he said. “What happens here matters not just to Ukraine, but to the entire world.”

Austin traveled to Ukraine to engage in high-level talks with Ukrainian leadership on bolstering support for the embattled nation in its fight against Russia.

The Pentagon chief will also host a Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting later this week, where more than 50 nations discuss and take action on supporting Ukraine.

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