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US promises more missiles as UK ships first Sea King helos to Ukraine

Sea King helicopters for Ukraine
Royal Navy file photo of a Sea King helicopter

The UK defense ministry revealed on Wednesday it is in the process of transferring three Sea King helicopters to Ukraine as part of a broader assistance package.

On the same day, the US Department of Defense said it would be sending a range of new ammunition and missiles to Ukraine, to help it defend against the Russian invasion.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced the transfer of helicopters during a visit to Oslo, noting Ukrainian crews already received six weeks of training on the helicopters in the UK.

The last of the Sea Kings the UK is donating were retired by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy in 2018. In Ukraine, they will be used for search and rescue missions.

The additional military aid comes after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Kyiv at the weekend, where he announced a £50 million package of defense aid. That package included 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter deadly Iranian-supplied drones, including dozens of radars and anti-drone electronic warfare capability.

Shortly after the UK announcement, the US detailed an additional $400 million presidential drawdown, which will see Ukraine receive a range of military hardware directly from US military stocks.

The equipment includes additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), 150 heavy machine guns with thermal imagery sights to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS), additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), as well as more High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs).

Also included are 200 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, 120mm mortar rounds, 150 Humvees, over 100 light tactical vehicles and over 200 generators.

The latest drawdown brings the military aid the United States has committed to Ukraine to more than $19.7 billion since the beginning of the Biden Administration. Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $21.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine and more than $19 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked invasion on February 24.