Sources say, Kiev will receive HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the United States will provide Ukraine with more advanced missile systems and ammunition so that the Ukrainian military can “hit key targets on the battlefield more accurately”.
In an op-ed published Tuesday on the New York Times website, Biden said: “We moved quickly to send Ukraine significant quantities of weapons and ammunition so that it can fight on the battlefield and take the strongest position possible at the negotiating table”.
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it would send Ukraine a small number of high-tech medium-range missile systems, critical weapons that Ukrainian leaders have previously asked the West for.
Washington is trying to strike a balance between wanting to help Ukraine withstand artillery fire from the Russian army and refusing to provide weapons that could allow Ukraine to hit targets deep inside Russian territory, which could escalate the war.
Following the publication of Biden’s op-ed, a senior U.S. administration official told reporters on condition of anonymity that HIMARS missile systems would be provided to Ukraine. He noted that these weapons will strengthen the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to repel a Russian invasion. “These systems will be used by the Ukrainians to repel Russian offensives on Ukrainian territory, but they will not be used for strikes on Russian territory,” he said.
The M142 HIMARS are in service with the U.S. Armed Forces and several other armies around the world and have experience in combat conditions. They operate with high-precision ammunition.
Ukraine is expected to be able to use these weapons in the Donbass, where they can both intercept Russian artillery and destroy Russian positions in cities where there is intense fighting, including Sievierodonetsk.
Biden, in his op-ed in the New York Times, emphasized: “We don’t encourage or allow Ukraine to strike outside the country. We don’t want to prolong the war just to hurt Russia”.
This will be the 11th package approved so far, but the first to use funds from the $40 billion recently approved by Congress. It will take some time to transport the missile systems in the U.S. arsenal. Ukrainian troops will also need training on the new systems, which could take at least a week or two.
The White House has not yet commented on details regarding the new aid package.
“We continue to look at a number of systems that could potentially be effective on the battlefield for our Ukrainian partners. But the president’s point is that we will not be sending long-range missiles for use off the battlefield in Ukraine”, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday. “As the dynamics have changed, we’ve also changed the type of security assistance we provide, largely because they’ve asked us to provide different systems that would be more effective in locations like the Donbass”.
Overall, the United States has provided about $4.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the Biden administration took office, including about $3.9 billion since the Russian invasion began.