The United States announced a new $400 million military aid package to Ukraine on Friday that consists mainly of munitions but will include, for the first time, tactical bridges to move tanks and armored vehicles.
The Ukrainian forces can use the bridges after they were trained in the joint arms maneuver, which means the coordinated use of artillery shelling with offensive movements of tanks and armored vehicles, with the aim of regaining the lands that Russian forces seized since their invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
The extra ammunition will be sent to help bolster Ukrainian stockpiles in anticipation of the spring offensive.
“Offensive bridges are essential for combined arms operations… It allows armored vehicles to cross narrow rivers and trenches that would otherwise slow an entire force,” a senior research fellow at the London based Royal Unified Services Institute, Jack Watling said.
“Most importantly, the bridges are only necessary for offensive operations, which shows that the United States is preparing Ukraine to continue reclaiming its territory,” Watling added.
Germany agreed in January to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine and said it would work with allies to send more.
It’s believed that German aid to Ukraine was a major topic during US President Joe Biden’s meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House on Friday.
Several NATO member states have pledged to provide a range of armored fighting vehicles.
“This military assistance package includes more ammunition for the HIMARS rocket launchers and howitzers provided by the United States, which Ukraine uses effectively in its own defense, as well as ammunition for Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and bridge-launched bridges… Armored vehicles, demolition ammunition and equipment, maintenance, training and support,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during the aid announcement.
Blinken said the package would be funded using presidential withdrawal authority, which allows the president to remove equipment from US stockpiles without congressional approval during an emergency.