US to arm Ukraine with ‘longer-range’ missiles – Reuters – RT World News
Washington is reportedly preparing a new $2 billion aid package, including munitions that can hit Russian territory deeply
President Joe Biden’s administration has reportedly decided to send longer-range rockets into Ukraine, giving Kyiv forces the ability to hit targets further behind front lines, just as a senior Ukrainian intelligence official has threatened to strike deeper inside Russia.
Donation of Ground Launched Small Diameter Rocket Artillery (GLSDB) munitions with a range of 150 kilometers (94 miles) will be part of an upcoming military aid package for Ukraine valued at over $2 billion dollars, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing two unidentified people. US officials know the plans. The package will also include additional Javelin anti-tank weapons, mine-resistant vehicles, multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and support equipment for Patriot air defense systems.
The GLSDB rockets will give Ukrainian forces greater range, nearly doubling the range of MLRS and HIMARS munitions that Washington and its NATO allies previously provided. Biden had been reluctant to send weapons that could hit Russian soil, risking escalating into a wider conflict with Moscow, but he has authorized increasingly provocative aid in recent weeks.
Washington approved plans to send M1 Abrams tanks to kyiv last week, even after Biden initially claimed in March that the United States would not provide tanks or planes, saying: “It’s called World War III.” While US-made tanks are expected to be delivered to Ukraine by the end of this year or even in 2024, the first batch of 60 previously approved Bradley Fighting Vehicles are already on their way, the US confirmed on Monday. Transportation Command.
The GLSDB is being developed by US defense contractor Boeing Co. as part of plans to rapidly produce new weapons for Kyiv. It combines the GBU-39 small-diameter bomb with the M26 rocket engine, both of which can be drawn from existing US weapons stocks. Washington is reportedly failing to respond to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s oft-repeated requests for the Army’s MGM-140 Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has a range of about 300 kilometers, twice the range of the GLSDB.
While US officials have claimed they have no intention of weapons given to Ukraine being used for strikes on Russian territory, kyiv forces appear to have no qualms about such attacks. US State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated Washington’s position earlier this month that kyiv is free to choose its own targets, including in Crimea, which he says is still a Ukrainian territory.
The head of Ukraine’s intelligence services, Kirill Budanov, promised on Tuesday that “Until the territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored, there will be problems inside Russia.” He also said Kyiv aims to retake Crimea by this summer.
The Kremlin has insisted that any threat to Russian territory, including Crimea and territories that voted to join Russia in September, will result in the use of “more powerful weapons” by Moscow. Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin earlier this month warned of possible “world tragedy” for humanity if Western nations continue to supply weapons that kyiv could use to strike at civilian towns and attempt to seize Russian territories.
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