President Joe Biden announced Monday that the United States will not send rocket systems to Ukraine that could potentially reach into Russia, following reports that the administration was preparing to send long range systems to the besieged European ally.
Ukrainian officials have sought a longer-range system called the Multiple Lunch Rocket Systems (MLRS), that can fire a barrage of rockets hundreds of miles away. It was not clear which system Biden was referring to in his remarks.
Last week, a reports surfaced that the weapon could be part of the next package of aid, expected to be announced this week.
But Biden gives Ukrainian hopes as he returned to the White House after a weekend away. “We are not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that strike into Russia,” he said
Russia foreign minister Sergey Lavrov last week cautioned Western Powers against supplying Ukraine with weapons capable of hitting Russian territory, warning such a move would ba a ” serious step towards unacceptable escalation.
Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said on May 25 the situation in the Eastern Donbas region was “extremely bad.” The rocket systems could help Ukrainian forces try to recapture places such as the southern city of Kherson from Russian occupiers who invaded Ukraine on 24 February.
Speaking on the side lines of the world Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Kuleba said he had about 10 bilateral meetings with other leaders whose countries possess such systems, The Association Press reported.
“If we do not get an MLRS ASAP, the situation in Donbad will get even worse than it is now”, he said “Every day of someone sitting in Washington, Berlin, Paris and other capitals, and considering whether they should or should not do something, costs us lives and Territories”. More than 4,000 people have been killed in Ukraine and millions more displayed since the Russian invasion began.
The Biden Administration’s decision not to send these weapons is a betrayal of #Ukraine️ and democracy itself.
Ukraine is not asking for American soldiers – just advanced weapons to protect and defend themselves from Putin’s invasion.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 30, 2022