Joe Biden said he’ll provide upgraded rocket systems and other US armament to Ukraine so it can better hit targets in its fight with Russia, as the conflict enters its fourth month.
In a New York Times article published Tuesday evening in Washington, Biden stated, “I’ve determined that we will equip the Ukrainians with more powerful rocket launchers and ammunition that will enable them to more precisely strike vital targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.”
According to a senior US source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the weapons package includes missiles that will allow Ukraine to strike targets up to 80 kilometers distant. In recent weeks, world leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have publicly urged for such action.
The announcement comes more than three months after President Vladimir Putin’s soldiers invaded Ukraine, with the battle now descending into a violent town-by-town slog as Russia attempts to consolidate territory in the east rather than grab control of the entire country. The way the war is fought has changed as a result of the shift in strategic goals, with longer-range bombardment, especially artillery, becoming a bigger aspect of the battle.
One of Washington’s and several European countries’ concerns about delivering longer-range weaponry and ammunition to Ukraine was that it would be used to hit targets within Russia. This would risk widening the fight and enlisting NATO allies who had hoped to draw a line between supplying defensive aid and being more aggressive in the conflict.
According to the US official, Ukraine’s leadership has promised not to deploy the new missile systems to attack Russian territory. The US did not agree to supply the longest-range munitions in the latest tranche, but it did highlight prior deployments of other modern systems, including as howitzers and anti-tank weaponry.
According to US officials, the White House expects to announce the fresh $700 million security assistance package on Wednesday. The United States has provided more than $4.5 billion in military aid since the war began.
Officials in the Biden administration have pledged to weaken Russia so that it cannot invade a neighbor again, slapping a raft of sanctions and arming Ukraine’s military with billions of dollars in weapons. Even after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s troops pushed Moscow to dial back its initial plans to conquer Kyiv and immediately replace the government, the aim of evicting Russian forces from Ukraine appears more distant.
“If Russia escapes punishment for its crimes, it will send a message to other would-be aggressors that they, too, can capture land and oppress other countries,” Biden wrote. “It might spell the end of the rules-based international order and open the door to new forms of aggression abroad, with global ramifications.”
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