Ukraine will not use advanced missile systems expected from the United States to attack on Russian territory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.
President Joe Biden earlier announced that the United States was sending advanced rocket systems to Ukraine to strike “key battlefield targets in Ukraine.” A US official has identified the weapon as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), saying its 80 kilometer range will prevent them from being used to hit targets inside Russia.
“Look, we’re not planning to attack Russia, we’re not interested in the Russian Federation, we’re not fighting on their territory,” Zelensky told US conservative broadcaster Newsmax in an interview.
Zelensky, however, argued that Ukraine needed longer-range versions of the US-supplied missile system to clear eastern and southern territories captured by Russia.
“We have a war in our territory, they came to our country, we want to unblock our cities and for that we need the MLRS [multiple launch rocket system] with an effective firing range of over 100 kilometers,” he said.
His assurances come after authorities in Russia’s southwestern regions bordering Ukraine reported dozens of attacks since President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine in late February.
At least three Russian civilians were killed in the cross-border attacks, which included explosions at oil refineries and damage to railway tracks.
Ukrainian officials did not claim responsibility for the attacks inside Russia, but neither did they explicitly deny the involvement of Ukrainian forces.