President Joe Biden stated on Monday that the US will not supply Ukraine rocket systems capable of reaching Russia.
Following allegations that the Biden administration was ready to deliver advanced long-range rocket weapons to Kyiv for its struggle against Russia, the US president made his remarks.
According to the Reuters news service, Biden told reporters after returning to the White House on Monday that “we’re not going to deliver to Ukraine rocket systems” that may reach Russia.
The Multiple Launch Rocket Missile, or MLRS, is a longer-range system that can unleash a barrage of rockets hundreds of kilometers distant, according to Ukrainian officials. In his remarks, Biden did not specify which system he was referring to.
On May 30, 2022, President Joe Biden speaks to the media as he returns to the White House from Wilmington, Delaware. [Reuters/Joshua Roberts]
According to CNN and The Washington Post, the Biden administration is considering providing the MLRS and another weapon, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, to Ukraine as part of a wider military aid package.
The Ukrainian government has begged the West to supply it with more long-range weapons in order to turn the tide in the four-month-old conflict. Such weapons systems are being actively considered, according to US sources.
Ukrainian military have received thousands of portable Stinger anti-aircraft and Javelin anti-tank missiles, as well as modern drones and field artillery, from the United States.
Last week, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Western powers against arming Ukraine with missiles capable of striking Russian soil, warning that such a move would be a “major step toward intolerable escalation.“
The urgency of Ukraine’s need for larger weaponry, according to its foreign minister, can be summed up in two abbreviations: MLRS — multiple launch rocket systems — and ASAP – as quickly as possible.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, warned on May 25 that the situation in the eastern Donbas region was “very awful.” The missile systems could aid Ukrainian forces in their attempt to retake places like Kherson, in the south, from Russian occupiers who invaded Ukraine on February 24.
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 Associated Press reported.
“The response I get is, ‘Have the Americans given it to you already?’” he said, alluding to US leadership. “So this is the burden of being a leader. Everyone is looking at you. So Washington has to keep the promise and provide us with multiple launch rocket systems as soon as possible. Others will follow.”
“If we do not get an MLRS ASAP, the situation in Donbas will get even worse than it is now,” he added. “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 displaced since the Russian invasion began.