US to send $700 million in military aid to Ukraine, including advanced rockets

WASHINGTON — The United States will send Ukraine advanced rocket systems and munitions as part of a new $700 million military equipment ...


WASHINGTON — The United States will send Ukraine advanced rocket systems and munitions as part of a new $700 million military equipment package to help Ukrainians fight the Russian invasion of their country, President Biden and White House officials said Tuesday.

Mr Biden announced his decision to supply the rocket systems, which can accurately target an enemy from nearly 50 miles away, in an editorial published online Tuesday evening by the New York Times. He said delivering the advanced weapons would allow Ukraine to “fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.”

But a senior administration official later said the weapons system – the most advanced provided to Ukrainians to date – was only promised after direct assurances from Ukrainian leaders that they would not. would not use against targets on Russian territory.

As the war drags on, the Biden administration has gradually expanded the range of weapons it has supplied to Ukrainians, and the latest package will also include Javelin anti-tank missiles, artillery shells, helicopters and vehicles tactics. But senior administration officials fear provoking a wider war with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin by providing equipment that could allow Ukraine to strike deep within his country.

That has proven to be a hard line to toe for the president and his advisers since Mr Putin sent his troops to Ukraine nearly 100 days ago.

In his Tuesday post, Mr. Biden described his administration’s determination to support Ukraine in its attempts to repel the Russian invaders. But Mr. Biden also offered specific assurances to Mr. Putin that the United States has no intention of provoking a broader conflict or the use of weapons of mass destruction.

“We currently see no indication that Russia intends to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, although Russia’s occasional rhetoric to shake the nuclear saber is itself dangerous and extremely irresponsible,” Mr. Biden. “Let’s be clear: any use of nuclear weapons in this conflict, on any scale, would be totally unacceptable to us and to the rest of the world and would have serious consequences.”

Mr Biden stated bluntly in his article that he was not seeking to unseat Mr Putin, despite his off-the-cuff remarks during a speech in Poland earlier this year when he said the Russian president “cannot not stay in power”. On Tuesday, Mr. Biden offered a different view.

“We are not looking for a war between NATO and Russia,” he said. “As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin and find his actions outrageous, the United States will not try to force his ouster in Moscow. Until the United States or our allies are attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, whether by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces.

Mr. Biden’s administration has already sent about $5 billion worth of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and other military equipment to Ukraine as the European country seeks to repel the Russian invasion.

Administration officials said the advanced rockets and other equipment will be officially announced on Wednesday, along with a set of spare parts that will allow the Ukrainians to maintain the artillery equipment that has been provided.

Officials said on Tuesday that Ukraine would receive the US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, which is a satellite-guided precision weapon that carries about the same explosive power as a 500-pound bomb. dropped from the air.

The system can hit targets up to 48 miles away, a senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday evening, far beyond the range of any artillery Ukraine currently uses. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service in June, the Pentagon has spent about $5.4 billion to purchase more than 42,000 such rockets since 1998.

The system could be equipped with longer-range rockets capable of traveling nearly 200 miles before hitting a target, officials said Tuesday. But Mr. Biden has decided not to supply those rockets to Ukraine, a senior administration official said.

Mr Biden had told reporters on Monday that “we are not going to send rocket systems capable of hitting Russia to Ukraine”.

A senior administration official acknowledged that even rockets from a 48-mile limit could be used to attack targets inside Russia if the system were taken to the Ukraine-Russia border. But the official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the Ukrainian government had assured the United States that would not happen and that the administration was comfortable with those assurances.

Mr. Biden made clear in his op-ed on Tuesday that it was important for the United States and other countries to provide more advanced weapons to Ukraine as the Russian military advances in the east of the country.

“Standing with Ukraine in this hour of need is not just the right thing to do,” he wrote. “It is in our vital national interest to ensure a peaceful and stable Europe and to make it clear that might does not make right.”

The tone of Mr. Biden’s article indicated that he thought Americans should be prepared for the war to continue for a long time. He said he wrote the article to clarify US goals “as the war continues.”

Although he pledged continued military support for Ukraine, Biden said he remained hopeful the countries could find a diplomatic end to the conflict.

“Ukraine’s talks with Russia have not stalled because Ukraine has turned its back on diplomacy,” he wrote. “They are at a standstill because Russia continues to wage a war to take control of as much of Ukraine as possible. The United States will continue to work to strengthen Ukraine and support its efforts to bring about an end negotiated conflict.

Jean Ismay contributed report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: US to send $700 million in military aid to Ukraine, including advanced rockets
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