Our President Joe Biden said on Tuesday his administration would send more advanced munitions and missile systems to Ukrainerespond to urgent pleas for a weapon that the Ukrainians see as crucial to their efforts to thwart Russia’s latest advances.
In a guest essay Posting in the New York Times, Mr. Biden said the US is committed to providing Ukraine with enough weapons and ammunition to fight on the battlefield and keep a strong position in negotiations with Moscow.
“That is why I have decided that we will provide Ukraine with more advanced ammunition and missile systems to help them more accurately strike important targets on the Ukrainian battlefield,” the president said. write.
Government officials later told reporters that the United States would send the M142 High Mobility Missile System (HIMARS), billed as a medium-to-long-range system that can fire missiles as far as about 45 miles. 70 km). Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the details of the plan.
On Monday, Mr. Biden told reporters that the US would not send Ukraine’s missile systems that could reach Russia. But since the heaviest fighting is currently in the eastern Donbas region, any weapon system – especially missiles – has the potential to penetrate Russian territory if they are fired close enough to the border.
According to senior Ukrainian government officials, Ukraine has assured US officials that it will not fire rockets at Russian territory. An official noted that the advanced missile systems would give Ukrainian forces greater accuracy in targeting Russian assets inside Ukraine.
Biden in his New York Times article added: “We do not encourage or facilitate Ukraine to attack beyond its borders. We don’t want to prolong the war just to sow pain in Russia.”
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HIMARS is mounted on a truck and can carry a cargo container with six missiles. The system can launch a medium-range missile, which is the current plan, but is also capable of firing a longer-range missile, the Army Tactical Missile System, which has a range of about 190 miles (300 km). and do not belong. of the plan.
The expectation is that Ukraine will use missiles in the Donbas, where it can both intercept Russian artillery and take out Russian positions in towns where fighting is fierce, such as Sievierodonetsk.
Sievierodonetsk was crucial to Russia’s effort to capture the Donbas before more Western weapons arrived to bolster Ukraine’s defenses. The city, 90 miles (145 km) south of the border with Russia, lies in what was the last place under Ukrainian government control in the Luhansk region of the Donbas. Russian officials have claimed most of the city since Tuesday.
The missile systems will be included in a new $700 million aid package to be announced Wednesday that includes helicopters, anti-aircraft weapon systems, according to senior administration officials. Javelin tanks, tactical vehicles, spare parts and more, according to senior administration officials.
This will be the 11th package passed to date and will be the first to utilize the $40 billion in support recently passed by Congress.
The missile systems would be within the Pentagon’s limited jurisdiction, which in turn would involve getting weapons from US stockpiles and getting them into Ukraine quickly. The Ukrainian military will also need training on the new systems, which could take as little as a week or two.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has begged the West to send more missile systems to Ukraine as soon as possible to help prevent Russia from destroying towns in Donbas. These missiles have a longer range than the grenade artillery systems that the United States provides to Ukraine, and will allow Ukrainian forces to attack Russian forces from a distance beyond the range of Russian artillery systems.
“We are fighting so that Ukraine is supplied with all the weapons necessary to change the nature of the fighting and start moving faster and more confidently towards the expulsion of the occupiers,” Zelenskyy said. said in a recent speech.
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Biden’s announcement shows that the US is continuing to maintain the balance it has maintained throughout the war: providing substantial aid to Ukraine without raising tensions with Moscow and triggering a wide-ranging conflict. larger could spread to other parts of Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned the West not to send more firepower to Ukraine. The Kremlin said Putin held an 80-minute phone call on Saturday with the leaders of France and Germany in which he warned against further Western arms transfers.
Overall, the United States has committed about $5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the start of the Biden administration, including about $4.5 billion since the February 24 Russian invasion.
Canada has pledged nearly $2 billion in aid to Ukraine since the war began, including weapons, artillery and heavy equipment.
—With files from the Associated Press
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