The US government is supplying modern multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine to defend against Russian invasion as part of a new security package. The White House said on Tuesday evening (local time) that Ukraine had pledged not to attack targets on Russian territory with the US-made Himar artillery system.
The system is part of a $700 million package that also includes missiles, radar systems, Javelin anti-tank weapons, helicopters, vehicles and spare parts.
US President Joe Biden wrote in a guest article for the New York Times that the modern missile systems should enable the attacked country to hit “important targets on the battlefield in Ukraine” more precisely. At the same time, Biden assured: “We do not want a war between NATO and Russia.” The USA also did not try to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, if Russia does not pay a high price for attacking Ukraine, it could lead to the end of the rules-based international order and catastrophic consequences worldwide.
“As long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not directly intervene in this conflict, either by sending American troops to Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces,” stressed the US President. “We do not encourage or enable Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia.”
However, Americans would continue to stand by the Ukrainian people “because we know that freedom does not come for free,” Biden wrote. “We want a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine that has the means to deter and defend against further aggression.” The US would continue to work with its partners on sanctions against Russia.
Biden underscored that there is currently no evidence that Russia intends to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Russia’s “occasional nuclear saber-rattling rhetoric” is in itself dangerous and irresponsible. “To be clear, any use of nuclear weapons in this conflict, on any scale, would be totally unacceptable to us and the rest of the world and would have serious consequences.”
US media had already reported last week that the USA was considering the delivery of the Himars system. But Biden caused confusion on Monday when he said he would not send missile systems to Ukraine that could hit Russian territory. According to his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, the President said that no missiles would be delivered “for use outside of the battlefield in Ukraine”.
A senior US official said on Tuesday evening: “The Ukrainians have assured us that they will not use these systems against targets on Russian territory.” The US would supply missiles with the Himars system that would only have a range of around 80 kilometers – specialized missiles for use in the system, on the other hand, can fly up to 300 kilometers. CNN had reported fears in the US government that Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory could result in retaliatory measures against the US.