Saturday, May 18, 2024

Russia says U.S. ‘adding fuel to fire’ by sending longer-range rockets

Russia has accused the U.S. of seeking to prolong the war in Ukraine after President Biden said he would supply Kyiv with new long-range missiles.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the U.S. was “intentionally adding fuel to the fire” with the deliveries.

“Such supplies do not contribute to the Ukrainian leadership’s willingness to resume peace negotiations,” he added.

Separately, the German government has promised to send an air defence system to Ukraine.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz told MPs that the IRIS-T system was the most modern Germany possessed and would enable Ukraine to defend an entire city against Russian air attacks.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hit out against the deliveries and said Biden’s announcement increased the risk of a “third country” being dragged into the conflict.

The U.S. had previously been unwilling to provide the weapons out of fear they could be used against targets in Russia, but the U.S. says Kyiv has given assurances that this will not happen. Biden said today (Wednesday) that the aid would strengthen Kyiv’s negotiating position against Russia and make a diplomatic solution more likely.

A senior U.S. official said the new weapons package would include four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

“These are precision-guided systems with extended range. And so for high-value targets that allow them to keep some of the pressure off of Ukrainian forces on the front, we think these systems will be very useful,” said Undersecretary for Defense Dr Colin H Kahl.

The systems can launch multiple precision-guided missiles at targets as far as 70 km away – a reach far greater than that of the artillery Ukraine currently possesses. They are believed to be more accurate than their Russian equivalents.

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