US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that President Joe Biden has approved additional military aid to Ukraine worth up to $675 million.
Austin said at the start of a meeting with senior officials from allied countries at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany that Biden approved the latest tranche of US assistance on Wednesday.
He said that the package includes howitzers, artillery munitions, Humvees, armored ambulances, anti-tank systems and more.
Austin said the gathering would discuss how countries can work together to train Ukrainian forces and improve their own defense industrial bases for the long-haul.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting has been raging in areas near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine after Kyiv warned that it might have to shut down the plant to avoid disaster.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in its daily morning update that some villages and communities near the plant were heavily shelled in the 24 hours to Thursday morning from “tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery”.
Overnight, Russian forces fired rockets and heavy artillery into the nearby town of Nikopol four times, the area’s regional governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, wrote on Telegram, damaging at least 11 houses and other buildings.
On Wednesday, Ukraine said it might have to shut the nuclear plant and called on residents in areas near the embattled facility to evacuate for their own safety..
Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for shelling that has occurred close to the plant and within its perimeter, risking nuclear catastrophe. Russian forces took over the plant soon after their Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine but Ukrainian technicians still operate the power station.