Peace efforts falter as US sends arms to Ukraine

A demonstrator holds a slogan during the anti-war rally in Washington, DC, the United States, Feb 19, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The flow of Western arms to Ukraine continued on Tuesday, amid international efforts to mediate a cease-fire in the country.

The United States announced a new $1.2 billion military aid package for Ukraine that will include air defense systems, ammunition and funds for training, the Pentagon said.

Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, expressed skepticism on Tuesday over efforts to halt the conflict, which started in February 2022.

"Peace negotiations are not possible at this time," Guterres told Spain's El Pais newspaper in an interview, adding that the efforts were "doomed to fail".

"I already said that peace negotiations at this time are not going to happen. I hope in the future, yes," Guterres said.

China unveiled a 12-point peace proposal earlier this year to halt the hostilities.

In late April, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said: "There is no use now in saying who is right, who is wrong. What we have to do now is stop the war."

Meanwhile, in Moscow on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Western "arrogance "is driving a "real war" against Russia.

Putin made the comments during a Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square.

The Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI, funds from Washington, will be used to purchase weapons, allowing US President Joe Biden's administration to buy arms from industry instead of pulling them from US stocks. Delivery of the weapons and systems depends on their availability and production timeline.

The Pentagon said it will fund munitions and drones for air defense and provide equipment to help modify Western air-defense launchers, missiles and radars so they can be used with Ukraine's systems. It will also buy artillery rounds, howitzer ammunition, satellite imagery assistance and funding for ongoing maintenance and spare parts for a variety of systems.

US officials said the weapons include HAWK air-defense systems. They spoke on condition of anonymity because that has not yet been formally announced.

Huge amount

So far in fiscal 2023, the US Department of Defense has provided $5 billion in military aid to Ukraine under the USAI in four separate tranches. In fiscal 2022, the US spent $6.3 billion worth of USAI funds for Ukraine's defense.

The US has also rushed more than $35 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine using presidential draw-down authority, which authorizes the president to transfer articles and services from US stocks without congressional approval during an emergency.

The announcement of the latest aid package sparked criticism on social media, with some questioning the continued aid to Ukraine, while Title 42, a pandemic-era restriction on migration to the US, is set to expire on Thursday.

"Today the US approved another $1 Billion plus in aid to a foreign nation thousands of miles away to help secure their border," tweeted "Alejandro Miguelsky". "In 2 days the US will begin to lose whatever border we still have allowing Millions to pour in."

Agencies contributed to this story.