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Latest in Ukraine: US to Send Additional $400 Million in Aid to Ukraine

Latest Developments:

  • A former U.S. Marine who was freed by Russia last year in a prisoner swap has been injured while fighting for Ukraine against Moscow’s forces, the U.S. State Department said.
  • Russia’s prosecutor-general declared independent TV channel Dozhd to be an undesirable organization, continuing the crackdown on news media and groups regarded as threats to Russia’s security. Dozhd, which is often critical of the Kremlin, closed its operations in Russia soon after the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, moving first to Latvia and then to the Netherlands.
  • The European Union is considering helping fund the costly transportation of grain out of Ukraine after Russia halted a deal that allowed Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain vital to global food security.

The United States will send Ukraine an additional $400 million in military aid, including air defense missiles, small drones and armored vehicles, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The weapons are being provided through the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows for the speedy delivery of defense articles and services from U.S. stocks, sometimes arriving within days of approval. The materiel will come from U.S. excess inventory.

The aid announcement comes at a time when Ukrainian troops are involved in a slow-moving counteroffensive against invading Russian forces.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the assistance is aimed at “strengthening Ukraine’s brave forces on the battlefield” and “helping them retake Ukraine’s sovereign territory.”

People walk past sandbags protecting a theater on Andriivskyi Descent in the Podil neighborhood in Kyiv on July 25, 2023.

People walk past sandbags protecting a theater on Andriivskyi Descent in the Podil neighborhood in Kyiv on July 25, 2023.

“The people of Ukraine continue to bravely defend their country against Russia’s aggression while Russia continues its relentless and vicious attacks that are killing Ukrainian civilians and destroying civil infrastructure,” Blinken said in a statement.

The new aid package includes an array of ammunition, ranging from missiles for Patriot air defense systems and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASMS), Stinger anti-aircraft systems, more ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Stryker armored personnel carriers, and a variety of other missiles and rockets.

It also will include for the first time U.S.-furnished Black Hornet surveillance drones — tiny nano drones used largely for intelligence-gathering. Ukraine has previously received these drones from other Western allies.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the U.S. has provided more than $43 billion in military aid to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukraine said their air defenses intercepted Iranian-made Shahed drones that Russia fired at Kyiv overnight. It was the sixth drone attack on the capital this month.

FILE - This undated photograph released by the Ukrainian military's Strategic Communications Directorate shows the wreckage of what Kyiv has described as an Iranian Shahed drone downed near Kupiansk, Ukraine.

FILE – This undated photograph released by the Ukrainian military’s Strategic Communications Directorate shows the wreckage of what Kyiv has described as an Iranian Shahed drone downed near Kupiansk, Ukraine.

Serhii Popko, head of the Kyiv regional military administration, said no casualties or damage were reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry said a Russian patrol ship destroyed two Ukrainian sea drones that attacked it in the Black Sea early Tuesday.

Ukrainian officials said Russia used cluster munitions in an attack on Kostiantynivka, in the eastern Donetsk region, late Monday.

FILE - A Ukrainian firefighter works to extinguish a fire at a petrol station, which was hit by a Russian strike in the town of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region, on July 22, 2023.

FILE – A Ukrainian firefighter works to extinguish a fire at a petrol station, which was hit by a Russian strike in the town of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region, on July 22, 2023.

Also Tuesday, Russian lawmakers approved a bill extending the upper age limit for the compulsory military draft from 27 to 30, a move that appears aimed at expanding the pool of recruits for the fighting in Ukraine.

The measure was quickly approved by the lower house on Tuesday. It will need to be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said its staff saw directional anti-personnel mines located on the perimeter of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

The IAEA said in a statement late Monday that the mines were seen Sunday “in a buffer zone between the site’s internal and external perimeter barriers.” The agency said no mines were seen “within the inner site perimeter.”

Russia has controlled the site since the early stages of its invasion of Ukraine. The IAEA has repeatedly warned of the potential for a nuclear catastrophe as it advocated for safety and security measures at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the agency was told the placement of the mines was a military decision and done in an area controlled by the military.

“But having such explosives on the site is inconsistent with the IAEA safety standards and nuclear security guidance and creates additional psychological pressure on plant staff — even if the IAEA’s initial assessment based on its own observations and the plant’s clarifications is that any detonation of these mines should not affect the site’s nuclear safety and security systems,” Grossi said.

IAEA experts are also continuing to monitor the availability of water to cool the plant’s reactors following the June destruction of the Kakhovka dam that affected a reservoir near the plant, the agency said.

“The site continues to have sufficient water for some months,” the IAEA said.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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