Reuters reported that the United States military expects to start training Ukrainians on using howitzer artillery in the coming days. The howitzer training would take place outside Ukraine. The United States is planning on teaching Ukrainian trainers how to use some of the new batches of weapons such as howitzers and radars and then for the trainers to instruct their colleagues inside Ukraine. The United States has previously trained Ukrainian forces on Switchblade drones, Javelin anti-tank guided missiles, and other anti-armor systems.
Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, expanding the aid to include heavy artillery ahead of a wider Russian assault expected in eastern Ukraine. So far, four flights of weapons have been sent by the United States as part of the new package. The military package includes 18 155mm Howitzers and 40,000 artillery rounds, ten AN/TPQ-36 counter-artillery radars, two AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel air surveillance radars, 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, and 11 Mi-17 helicopters, among others.
The authorization marked the seventh drawdown of equipment for Ukraine from United States Department of Defense stocks since August last year. It also includes 300 Switchblade Tactical Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), 500 Javelin missiles, other anti-armor systems, M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel munitions, laser rangefinders, body armor, and helmets. The DoD anticipates that the Ukrainian forces will need training on the Howitzer system, the two radar systems, and the Claymore mines, as well as the optics and laser rangefinders.
Reuters reported that approximately 16 Ukrainian military facilities, including five command posts, a fuel depot, and three ammunition warehouses, were destroyed in the attack. These facilities were located in the regions of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Dnipropetrovsk, and in the port of Mykolayiv. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksander Kubrakov told Reuters that the invasion has affected up to 30% of the country’s infrastructure. The damage costs may total more than $100bn.