Ukraine mulls long-range rocket deliveries from US – FM
Ukraine and the US are discussing deliveries of long-range missiles that would enable Kiev to strike deep into Russia, Foreign Ministry Dmitry Kuleba said on Friday. Earlier, Moscow had warned that this would make Washington “an actual party” to the Ukraine conflict and prompt a response.
Speaking to PBS, Kuleba claimed that Ukrainian generals “have [an] excellent line of communication with American generals” and they “are discussing this issue” of supplying Kiev with longer-range ammo for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
The minister noted that Kiev “appreciates everything the United States [has] done,” adding that it needs specific weapons to “get things done on the battleground.”
“I do not exclude the option that the United States will make a positive decision on this specific type of weapon,” he added, referring to HIMARS longer-range munitions.
As of September 15, the US has provided 16 HIMARS systems to Ukraine to help it counter Russia’s military operation, which started in late February. Washington has openly supplied Kiev with GMLRS rockets that can hit targets from up to 80km away, but has resisted calls to send long-range Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) munitions with a range of fire of up to 300km, arguing that Ukraine does not need them.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that if the US decides to supply these types of munitions to Ukraine, “it would cross the red line and become an actual party to the conflict.” She added that the move would trigger “an adequate response” from Russia, which “reserves the right to defend its territory using any means available.”
On the same day, CNN reported, citing sources, that Washington does not intend to supply Kiev with the long-range HIMARS rockets that Ukraine has been requesting for months, fearing the move would be escalatory.