US, NATO countries dispatching planes filled with military equipment for Ukraine - here are some of them

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A Ukrainian fighter practices firing an NLAW anti-tank weapon supplied by Britain.
  • The US and other NATO countries have sent thousands of weapons to Ukraine in recent weeks.
  • The shipments include anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles which could be used against Russian tanks and helicopters .
  • The weapons are being used by Ukrainian fighters to push back Russian forces.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

As fighting in Ukraine enters its third week, reports this week revealed heavily-laden military cargo jets are pouring into an airfield across the border, stacked with weapons and military equipment to help Ukraine's forces hold back the advance of Russian troops.

Throughout the buildup to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries, including the US, insisted they would not send troops to the region amid concern that the presence of their personnel on the ground would lead to a dangerous escalation of the conflict.

That stance has continued since Moscow ordered its troops into Ukraine on the morning of February 24. Instead, NATO nations and other countries are supplying Ukraine's defence forces - vastly outgunned and outnumbered by Russia's military - with weapons and equipment that Kyiv hopes will be able to help staunch Russia's advance.

Around 17,000 anti-armour weapons have been sent to Ukraine in the last number of weeks and are being pressed into use against Russian tanks and other hardware. As of March 8, Ukrainian fighters had destroyed over 1,000 armored personnel carriers, 303 tanks, 120 artillery systems and 80 helicopters, The Kyiv Independent claimed.

With heavy transport aircraft continuing to deliver consignments of equipment critical for Ukraine's defense, we take a look at some of the weapons being sent to Ukraine as it tries to hold back Russia's advances. 

The US approved a $350 million military package for Ukraine, which includes Javelin missiles

Members of the Ukrainian army fire a Javelin anti-tank missile during drills a week before the invasion.

President Biden announced $350 million in military aid for Ukraine on February 26, two days after the invasion started. The package included anti-armor weapons, small arms, body armor, and other equipment, according to a senior US Defence Official.

A Defense Official said later that it was "fair to say" that US javelin surface-to-air missiles would be included in that package. 

The US had already provided $650 million in military aid over the last year, President Biden confirmed on the day of the invasion.

The US package also includes Stinger anti-aircraft missiles

The Stinger anti-aircraft missile can be used to shoot down Russian jets.

The $350 million package also includes Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. 

The shoulder-fired missiles focus on their target using infrared technology and can be used to shoot down Russian helicopters, Insider's Jake Epstein and John Haltiwanger previously reported.

The shipment marked the first time President Biden had sent Stinger missiles to Ukraine. 

The UK has sent anti-armour weapons designed to disable tanks and armoured vehicles

Boeing C-17 planes are being used to transport military equipment.

The UK defence ministry has also approved packages of military aid for Ukraine, but has given little detail on what those packages include. 

In January, the UK government announced a new package - which included 2,000 anti-armour missiles - intended to bolster Ukraine's "defensive capabilities," according to a research briefing published by the UK House of Commons Library.

On March 2, British Member of Parliament, James Heappey, told the House of Commons: "In the next hours and days, we will provide a further package of military support to Ukraine, including lethal aid in the form of defensive weapons and non-lethal aid such as body armour, medical supplies and other key equipment as requested by the Ukrainian Government." 

Anti-tank weapons sent by the UK are being deployed in the suburbs of the capital Kyiv

Members of the Ukrainian army examine a NLAW anti-tank weapon.

Though he did not confirm the details of which weapons would be sent, Heappey has since said that the UK's NLAW anti-tank weapons have proven to be "invaluable" in attacking Russian artillery, The Times reported. 

The portable, shoulder-fired weapon has been used by Ukrainians to attack Russian armor in the suburbs of Kyiv.

The UK's defence secretary told the House of Commons on Wednesday that the UK has now sent 3,615 NLAWs to Ukraine.

The UK plans to send Starstreak high-velocity anti-aircraft missiles

The Starstreak missile is designed to provide defence against aircraft including helicopters (seen here being demonstrated for potential air security use at the London 2012 Olympic Games)

The UK Defense Secretary also said on Wednesday that the UK was making plans to send Starstreak high-velocity missiles to Ukraine. 

"To date, the international community has donated more than 900 man-portable air defence missiles and thousands of anti-tank guided weapons of varying types, as well as various small arms. However, the capability needs strengthening," the Defense Secretary told the House of Commons. 

The missiles are laser-guided and have a range of seven kilometers and can be used to target aircrafts including fixed wing fighters and late unmasking helicopter targets, according to the missile's manufacturer, Thales.

Military aid is arriving at an airfield close to Ukraine's border

A US Air Force C-17 cargo plane

Boeing C-17 aircraft belonging to the US, UK, and Canada have been delivering the equipment to an airfield close to Ukraine's border. Jets carrying military equipment arrive at the base every 90 minutes, The Times reported.

American military cargo planes were also spotted flying between eastern Poland and a separate airbase in Germany, per The Times. 

The US rejected an offer from Poland to receive Soviet-era jets for transfer to Ukraine

MIG-29 fighter jets.

US officials also engaged in talks with Poland on a deal which would supply Ukraine with Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, but have since rejected Poland's offer to hand the jets over to the US.

Ukrainian forces already know how to fly Russian-made aircrafts, making them a better option for Ukrainian fighters than jets made elsewhere, according to Reuters.

"The prospect of fighter jets 'at the disposal of the government of the United States of America' departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance," a US Department of Defense official said on Tuesday.

The EU also pledged €500 million in military aid

The Netherlands is sending Panzerfaust weapons.

Other European countries have also sent military equipment to Ukraine.

Two days after the invasion, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, announced that Germany planned to donate 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine. The decision marked a major policy shift for Germany, which has previously banned arms shipment to conflict zones.

The EU as a whole agreed to supply €500 million in military aid for Ukraine after the invasion in a move the president of the European Union described as a "watershed moment."

The weapons are being used by Ukrainian forces to disable Russian tanks

A Russian tank destroyed by Ukrainian fighters lies at the side of the road in the Luhansk region of Ukraine.

Some of the weapons are being used by Ukrainian fighters to attack Russian tanks. As of March 8, Ukrainians had destroyed over 303 tanks, The Kyiv Independent claimed, although numbers are difficult to verify.

Ukrainian tanks are heavily outnumbered by those belonging to Russia. According to Sky News, Russia has over six times the number of Ukrain's tanks.

Russia's foreign affairs minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused Western countries of intensifying the conflict by supplying Ukraine with military equipment, Reuters reported.

As of Friday, US and UK defense officials said Russian forces were getting closer to Kyiv. A US defense official told reporters on Thursday that Russian forces had moved three miles closer to Kyiv in the 24 hours prior, and that they could be as close as nine miles from the city centre.

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