Ukraine will get new medium-range missile systems, but it had to promise not to use them on the territory of the Russian Federation. The Kremlin's propaganda media, however, are still in a state of hysteria, judging by the headlines "all this will attack Russia."
It is interesting that earlier European and American leaders assured that Kyiv itself could decide what targets to hit — enemy military depots on its territory or defend itself on its own one.
New weapons and strengthening NATO in the East
What was previously reported only with reference to sources was confirmed: on Wednesday, June 1, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new package of military assistance to Ukraine worth $700 million.
Strong support from NATO and allies helps ensure victory for Ukraine, Blinken was quoted as saying by the Alliance's official website.
At the same time, the conflict must be prevented from escalating, so NATO is increasing its presence on the eastern flank.
As part of the package, the Biden administration will send some high-tech medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine, officials said back on Tuesday, AP reports.
Biden himself wrote in a column for the NYT that the Ukrainians will get better missile systems and ammunition that would enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.
He listed the following weapons as part of the package:
- Javelin anti-tank missiles;
- anti-aircraft missiles Stinger;
- powerful artillery and high-precision rocket systems;
- unmanned aerial vehicles;
- Mi-17 helicopters;
The White House added that Ukraine would get tactical vehicles, counter-battery radars, a range of air surveillance radars, and spare parts.
Missiles in package: Just don't hit Russia
At the same time, although the rumors about the missiles were confirmed, the United States made Ukraine promise that it would not use them to hit targets in Russia, Antony Blinken said, according to Reuters.
"There is a strong trust bond between Ukraine and the United States, as well as with our allies and partners," he assured.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer believes the new systems will meet Kyiv's needs.
Russia, for its part, said the U.S. was adding fuel to the fire by supplying Ukraine with advanced missiles.
"We are not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia," Biden assured on Tuesday, while reminding Putin that he had warned him of the consequences of an invasion.
He also assured that the U.S. would not prolong the war to deplete Russia, which was previously described as the Americans’ long-term strategy, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Biden also added that he would not put pressure on Kyiv to make territorial concessions to the Kremlin.
Missile that will not make it to 300 km
Ukraine would get the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), sources in the Biden administration said on condition of anonymity.
This launcher will be used to fire with the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS).
The GMLRS missiles, with a range of up to 77 km, have about twice the range of the M777 howitzers that the U.S. has provided to Ukraine.
At the same time, GMLRS has a much shorter range than tactical missile systems, which can shoot down targets up to 300 km — the Americans will not provide them to Kyiv.
On condition of anonymity, U.S. officials say the short-term plan is to send 48 GMLRS missiles and four HIMARS launchers. Training of Ukrainian soldiers will take up to 10 days.
What GMLRS that will be provided to Kyiv are capable of
Despite the short range in order to hit the Crimean bridge (at least from the current positions), GMLRS will double the striking range for Ukrainian artillerymen, the outlet SPEKA analyzes.
The big pluses include the fact that HIMARS launchers operate in all weather conditions (reliability rating — more than 98%), can carry a capsule with six missiles and are deployed faster on the battlefield than other Kyiv systems.
The first missiles, according to American analysts, will arrive in Ukraine in a few weeks.
Conclusions: U.S. still cautious
Despite criticism of the U.S. president by the opposition and assurances by Joe Biden that he will not drag on the war to inflict pain on Russia, he remains cautious about giving Kyiv weapons that could scare Putin.
Actually, the refusal to provide missiles that could hit military targets in Russia is a departure from previous EU and NATO claims that Ukraine itself chooses where to fire the weapons it has been given for defense.
Of course, this is all part of the plan "how to help Kyiv win" and not provoke a direct conflict with NATO or a nuclear strike from Moscow. Here, Ukraine has to wait for the weapons that we are given, because HIMARS will allow turning the tide of the battle in the South and Donbas.
This will be slower than with the damaged military depots and railway lines in the Russian Federation, but still better than with systems that cannot confront Russian artillery. It will be exactly 100 days on June 3rd since the beginning of Ukraine's desperate struggle for its existence.
- Earlier, we analyzed what kind of weapons Kyiv had got from the West during three months.
- also reported about changes in the rhetoric of the West and explained why they no longer build a "golden ladder" for Putin.