The Biden administration is urgently prioritizing air defense and energy equipment as Russia steps up attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure with winter approaching. In Bucharest on Tuesday, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the US will provide more than $53mn in funds for critical energy infrastructure supplies such as distribution transformers, circuit breakers and surge arresters. "This equipment will be rapidly delivered to Ukraine on an emergency basis to help Ukrainians persevere through the winter," the US State Department said. Separately, defense officials said Tuesday they are scouting US and ally stockpiles for air defenses to send to Ukraine, labeling them "an urgent priority," a senior defense official said Tuesday. "We are watching Russia continue to double down on its strategy to try to inflict pain on the Ukrainian people, to try to break their will." Western nations are increasingly tailoring new military assistance packages to focus on Russia's attempts in recent weeks to leave vast swaths of Ukraine without water and power as it faces setbacks elsewhere on the battlefield, hoping Kyiv will make concessions. The Pentagon last week said it would provide more than 200 generators to Ukraine's military, in addition to ammunition for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (Nasams), to help counter Russia's attacks, after providing other ammunition and air defense systems earlier this month. Officials also promised more weapons, including Nasams.
"There may be a mix of air defense capabilities that we can provide very soon and others that we can provide down the road and we really are looking at all possible capabilities," the senior defense official said.