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U.S. approves sending multiple launch missile systems to Ukraine — NYT

The administration of President Joe Biden has decided to send multiple launch missile systems (MLRS) to Ukraine, The New York Times (NYT) reports, citing its sources.

The day before, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said that a decision on sending had not yet been made.

According to NYT sources, this may refer to M31 GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System). The MLRS will be part of a new military aid package for Ukraine that will be announced next week.

Let us clarify that this is likely to be a modification of the M270 MLRS that can launch M31 unguided missiles.

In addition to these MLRS, M142 HIMARS wheeled systems can be sent to Ukraine. They differ from the M270 in that they carry a pod loaded with six missiles, and on the tracked M270 there are two such pods.

The maximum effective firing range with the M31 missiles is 70 km.

According to the NYT source, Putin may consider sending MLRS "provocative", so the U.S. authorities will try to reason out arguments proving that these systems "do not provide Ukraine with the capability to strike deep into Russian territory."

The plans of the White House to announce shortly a new package of military assistance to Ukraine were previously reported by CNN, citing several sources in the U.S. administration. Kyiv has been asking for these systems since the beginning of Russian aggression, but the United States was in no hurry to fulfill Ukraine's request, fearing that it would use these systems to strike Russian territory, which would escalate the conflict.

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