WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States is speeding up the shipment of sophisticated NASAMS air defenses to Ukraine, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday, after a devastating missile barrage from Russia.
U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskiy in a phone call on Monday to support the country’s air defenses as residents took cover from strikes in Kyiv.
The United States has approved sending Ukraine a total of eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) so far, with two expected to be delivered soon and six more sent over a longer time frame.
“We think that we’re on track to get those first two over there in the very near future,” Kirby said during a briefing for reporters. “We are certainly interested in expediting the delivery of NASAMS to Ukraine as soon as we can.”
The United States has provided more than $16.8 billion worth of security assistance since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 and imposed a wide-ranging array of economic sanctions on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Mark Porter)