US approves $385m sale of surface-to-air missile defence system to Ukraine

WASHINGTON – The United States on Wednesday announced the approval of a US$285 million (S$385 million) sale of a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (“NASAMS”) air defence system and related equipment to Ukraine as Kyiv seeks to boost protection against Russian strikes.

“Ukraine has an urgent need to increase its capabilities to defend against Russian missile strikes and aircraft,” the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

“Acquiring and effectively deploying this capability will enhance Ukraine’s ability to defend its people and protect critical national infrastructure.”

The agency also said the sale will support US foreign policy national security goals by “improving the security of a partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.”

The sale would not require any additional US government employees or contractors to be assigned to Ukraine, the statement added.

The State Department approved the sale, and the DSCA on Wednesday provided the required notification to Congress, which still needs to sign off on the transaction.

Countries including the United States that are supporting Ukraine in its battle against invading Russian forces have donated tens of billions of dollars of military equipment to Kyiv, but this transfer would be a sale.

Ukraine’s air defences have played a key role in protecting the country from strikes and preventing Moscow’s forces from gaining control of the skies.

When Russia invaded in February 2022, Ukraine’s air defences largely consisted of Soviet-era planes and batteries.

They have since been significantly augmented by Kyiv’s international supporters, who have donated a series of systems including NASAMS. AFP