The US administration is trying to make up for lost time after month of delays in Ukraine support with another ammunition package for Ukrainian forces, as the Department of Defense (DoD) issues a fifth security assistance package since a multi-billion-dollar funding package was finally passed in April 2024.

Detailing the latest Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) package on 24 May – the third PDA since the US was able to restart equipment provision to Ukraine after months of partisan political wrangling – the DoD said that equipment included was valued at around $275m.

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The latest PDA is the second to be issued in May, coming on the back of a $400m commitment revealed on 10 May 2024.

Critically, the 24 May PDA almost entirely focused on the provision of artillery shells and precision strike rockets for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which have been used to devastating effect by Ukrainian forces.

The May 10 announcement also focused mainly on munitions, such as 105mm and 155mm artillery rounds, as well as Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and M113 armoured personnel carriers.

US forces shipping Bradley IFVs to Ukraine in 2023. Credit: US Transportation Command/Oz Suguitan

Listing the weapons contained in the new package, the DoD said that it included: ammunition for HIMARS; 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds; 60mm mortar rounds; Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles; Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems; and precision aerial munitions;

In addition, other items included small arms and additional rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades; demolitions munitions; anti-armor mines; tactical vehicles to recover equipment; helmets, body armor, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear protective equipment, and other ancillary equipment.

Ukraine on the back foot as Russian open new front

The US has come under significant pressure for its Ukraine support hiatus, a consequence of which saw Russia capture the territory and towns as Ukrainian forces ran critically short of ammunition to conduct defensive operations. In February Russian forces captured the town of Avdiivka after months of combat.

Russian forces are looking to seize the town of Chasiv Yar, some 5km to the west of Bakhmut. The seizure of the town, while still offering only a tactical rather than strategic victory for Russia at this point, could open up new routes north and south along the H20 highway.

Meanwhile, after regrouping forces in Belgorod, Russian forces opened a new front on 10 May in northeast Ukraine in a new offensive, likely intended to test the already stretched Ukrainian front lines.

Source: Institute for the Study of War

Russia maintains a purported 3-1 combat manpower ratio advantage over Ukraine and is looking to leverage its quantitative advantage to gain further territory.

Ukraine has struggled to obtain the manpower required to sustain combat operations, as losses continue to mount, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy passing a decree lowering the age of conscription from 27 down to 25 years of age.

Additionally, Ukraine has suspended consular services for military-age men living overseas, while some countries, including Poland and Lithuania, have already confirmed that they could assist in ensuring Ukrainian males are returned to home to complete compulsory military service.

Combat casualties between the two combatants has likely surpassed 500,000 in grinding attritional operations along the front.

Additional reporting from John Hill.