The United States has announced an additional $550 million in security assistance to Ukraine.
In this tranche of materiel support, the Department of Defense specified 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition and an unspecified amount of munitions for use with Ukraine’s HIMARS. Four more HIMARS were reportedly pledged in a separate announcement, along with air defenses and potentially longer-ranged missiles.
The package comes amidst Russian efforts to reinforce Kherson, seeking to bolster the region Ukraine has sworn to reclaim by September. The increasing focus on southern Ukraine has left the Donbas in an ‘operational pause,’ with analysts seeing a general slowdown in the offensive towards Sloviansk. The general slowdown has seen Russia seek to terrorize Ukraine’s population through other means, including missile strikes and shelling.
The United States has assessed and condemned Russia’s usage of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, as an artillery base. The power plant’s presence shelters Russian forces, forcing Ukraine to rely on careful loitering munitions and UAVs rather than their rocket artillery for fear of triggering an accident. Russia’s nuclear terrorism is nothing new in this regard-Russian forces used Chornobyl as an artillery base as well, though Russian forces dug in disturbed radioactive particles in the soil, and there were allegedly cases of radiation sickness.