Ukraine War: US Provides Long-Range Missiles Under Latest Aid Program

Ukraine War: US Provides Long-Range Missiles Under Latest Aid Program

  • Post category:World

Ukrainian troops fire an artillery gun

The US says the additional $2.2bn (£1.83bn) military aid to Ukraine will include long-range missiles capable of doubling its attack range.

This brings the total amount of military aid to Ukraine since February 2022 to more than US$29.3bn (£24.31bn).

The package includes small diameter ground-launched bombs (GLSDB) capable of hitting targets at a distance of 150 km (93 miles).

But officials declined to speculate that the ordnance could be used to attack parts of annexed Crimea.

“As far as Ukraine’s operational plans are concerned, it’s clearly their decision,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters.

“It gives them a longer-range capability, the ability to fire from a long distance, which in turn allows them to carry out operations to defend their country and to retake their sovereign territory, the territories occupied by Russia.”

Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and considers it part of its territory. But he has come under sporadic fire from Ukrainian forces in recent months.

Western states have repeatedly ruled out supplying Ukraine with offensive weapons, such as fighter jets, with which to attack Russia itself.

In a tweet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the United States and President Joe Biden for the additional help.

“The longer our weapons reach and the more mobile our troops are, the sooner Russia’s brutal aggression will end,” Zelenskyy wrote. “With [the US] We are against terrorism.

President Zelenskyy has long called on the West to equip its armed forces with artillery capable of firing over longer distances.

Previously, Ukraine’s longest-range weapon was the Himars missile system, capable of hitting targets up to 80 km (50 miles). Kyiv used the system to devastating effect in their counter-offensive in the south and east earlier this year.

The GLSDB also gives Ukrainian forces the ability to strike anywhere in Russia’s Donbass, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions. It also allows Ukraine to threaten Russian supply lines to the east.

Manufactured by Boeing and Saab, GLSDB is a glider missile with a small bomb capable of hitting a target within one meter of its position.

And it can be fired from various weapon systems, including Himars and M270 MLRS systems already used in Ukraine. However, the Pentagon and Boeing declined to comment on delivery dates for the system, with some reports suggesting it could take up to nine months to reach Ukraine.

The new package – which will also include additional Himars missiles and 250 Javelin anti-tank systems – comes amid growing concerns that Western countries have been too slow to provide new military aid to Ukraine.

“GLSDB should have been approved last fall,” US Armed Forces Chairman Mike Rogers said in a tweet. “Every day it’s not approved is a day late to get it into the hands of a Ukrainian ready to kill a Russian.”

Reports have surfaced in recent days that a Russian offensive in the eastern Donbass region is gaining momentum, with pro-Kremlin bloggers pointing out that the town of Bakhmut, long at the center of Russian attacks, has been surrounded on three sides .

But President Zelenskyy said his forces were entrenched around the city and would not leave it open to Russian attack.

“We see Backhmut as our stronghold,” the Ukrainian leader said. “If the weapon [deliveries] accelerated – namely long-range weapons – not only will we not withdraw from Bakhmut, but we will also start the disoccupation of Donbass, which has been occupied since 2014.”

Mr Zelensky has previously said a Russian spring offensive in the region has already begun, and his defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said earlier this week that Moscow had mobilized around 500,000 troops for the new attack.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian leader held new EU membership talks in Kyiv with the bloc’s leaders, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel.

After the summit, Zelenskyy said the leaders had “reached an agreement on the possibility of starting negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union later this year.”

However, Ms von der Leyen said there were “no rigid timetables” and stressed that Ukraine had political goals it needed to achieve before joining the bloc.

The EU has repeatedly stressed that Ukraine must step up its fight against endemic corruption, reform its judicial system by eliminating political interference and strengthen its economy.

Elsewhere, Germany has announced its intention to send Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine. The previous model of the Leopard 2s, which Berlin has already promised to deliver, may be delivered to Kyiv earlier than the more developed model.

A map of Russian control in Ukraine


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