Jun 1, 2022 - World

U.S. providing new longer-range missile systems to Ukraine

Ukraine defense.
An Ukrainian military truck is loaded with FGM-148 Javelins, American man-portable anti-tank missiles, on Feb. 11. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will provide Ukraine with more advanced rocket systems and munitions, President Biden announced Tuesday in an opinion piece published by the New York Times.

Why it matters: The longer-range missile systems are intended to enable Ukraine’s military to “more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine,” Biden said.

  • The U.S. will send an undisclosed number of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems intended to help repel the advance of Russian tanks, a senior administration official confirmed in a call with reporters on Tuesday. The missiles have a range of about 48 miles.
  • The official added that the missiles would be part of an upcoming aid package that is valued at $700 million. An exact dollar figure will be unveiled Wednesday, the senior official said.

Driving the news: "These systems will be used by the Ukrainians to repel Russian advances on Ukrainian territory, but they will not be used on targets in Russian territory,” the official said.

  • The official declined to comment further on “operational discussions” with Ukrainians regarding the new weapons systems.
  • Biden said last week that the Pentagon won't send rockets that Ukraine could use to strike targets inside Russia, Politico reported.

What he’s saying: “We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table,” Biden wrote as Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine entered its fourth month.

  • “We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia. As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow," Biden said.
  • "So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces."
  • "America’s goal is straightforward: We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression," Biden added.

Flashback: The U.S. has sent over $1 billion in security aid to Ukraine since the start of the invasion.

  • On May 19, the Department of Defense announced $100 million in security assistance, on top of earlier packages of $150 million and $800 million packages.
  • More than $5 billion in security assistance has been sent to Ukraine since Biden took office in 2021, according to the senior official.
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