Approving the 11th $700 million weapon package to Ukraine so far, President Biden announced Tuesday that the United States will send Kyiv more advanced rocket systems and munitions, after all, noting, however, it’ll not enable Ukrainians to strike inside Russia.
Writing in an op-ed for the New York Times, Biden said they’ve sent Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield, including Stinger antiaircraft missiles, Javelin anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radars, helicopters, tactical vehicles, and other advanced weapons.
The package will include High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), a lighter wheeled system that can fire many of the same types of ammunition as the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) to repel Russian systems but, as officials noted, they would not be used inside Russian territory.
Ukraine has been pushing for HIMARS, which have a range of 83 to 185 miles.
Biden noted that the US wants Ukraine to be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table, so he decided to approve sending Kyiv more advanced rocket systems and munitions to enable them to strike key targets more precisely from a greater distance inside Ukraine.
However, this decision is quite conflicting with his previous statement that the US will not send Kyiv any long-distance missile systems capable of striking deep into Russian territory.
Even the Biden administration is well aware they’re walking a very fine line with the Russians by sending the HIMARS, says Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, especially after Russia warned the US and NATO last month of unpredictable consequences if they send Kyiv sensitive weapons.
This weapons package is the first to be sent from the $40 billion bill that Congress passed earlier this month to provide Ukraine with military, economic, and humanitarian assistance.
Since the start of the Biden administration, Washington has sent Ukraine $5 billion in security assistance of which $4 billion has been sent since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russia warned last month of “unpredictable consequences” if the U.S. and NATO allies continue sending Ukraine “sensitive” weapons.