The United States will rush more precision-guided rockets and additional ammunition to Ukraine to help resupply what officials have described as Kyiv’s dangerously low artillery stockpile.
The additional medium-range rockets — known as GMLRS and pronounced “Gimmlers” — will be fired from 38 truck-mounted, multiple-rocket launchers that the United States already has provided. Known as HIMARS, those launchers have, over the past year, proved crucial in bolstering Ukraine’s momentum in the war.
U.S. officials said that the rockets are included in a new $400 million package of military aid announced on Friday by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.
The new package comes as President Biden hosts a short visit by Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, bringing the total value of American military aid to Ukraine to more than $32 billion since February 2022.
It also includes more ammunition for the 109 Bradley Fighting Vehicles that the United States pledged to Ukraine in January. Those armored vehicles began arriving in Ukraine last month, along with howitzer rounds, demolition munitions for obstacle clearance, spare parts and field equipment.
NATO leaders have long warned of a looming ammunition shortage for Ukraine as its troops burn through thousands of shells each day. That has been particularly clear in the monthslong battle for the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops are fighting to avoid encirclement by Russian forces.
It was not clear if the new tranche of American ammunition would arrive in time to defend Bakhmut, if that is where commanders decide it should be sent.
But the guided rockets pledged on Friday will add significant firepower to the HIMARS launchers, which were key to helping Ukraine reclaim territory in a rapid counteroffensive against Russian forces in the northeastern Kharkiv region last summer.
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Thursday that the Biden administration would try to give Ukraine as much aid as it could in the coming months.
Besides providing missiles, tanks, ammunition and fighting vehicles, the Biden administration is intent on boosting Ukraine’s air defenses, a task which Pentagon war planners deem critical, General Milley said. Western officials have warned that Moscow could quickly gain a stronger hand in the air war if Ukraine runs out of the Stinger missiles and other air-defense weapons.
“What we’re doing is helping Ukraine defend itself,” General Milley said.