Kiev insists it needs US air defenses and long-range missiles – reports
Kiev has reiterated calls for Washington to provide more advanced weapons, after Moscow conducted attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure on Monday, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
A letter sent by Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, reportedly asked the US for air defense systems, long-range tactical ballistic missiles, and fighter jets.
The Foreign Policy report says the letter touted Ukraine’s success in allegedly intercepting half of the missiles launched by Russia on Monday, and called on US congressional leadership to bolster Kiev’s capabilities by prioritizing deliveries of more advanced air defense systems.
The lawmaker specifically identified the medium-range National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System (LPWS) automatic anti-rocket turrets as being necessary for Ukraine. They would help the country defend “the most important objects, especially crucial power plants,” he wrote, as quoted by the magazine.
Stefanchuk also reiterated Kiev’s long-held desire for the US to lift restrictions on supplying advanced offensive weapons, such as F-15 and F-16 fighter jets and the Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS). The latter can be fired by M270 and M142 launchers, which Ukraine has already received in large numbers from the US and other countries.
Washington has said it will not send ATACMS to Kiev because its military does not need them on the battlefield. Ukrainian officials argue that the missiles, which have a range of up to 300km (186 miles), could be deployed against Russian airfields in Crimea.
The US banned Kiev from using weapons received from the Pentagon to attack targets in Russia. However, Washington considers the peninsula – as well as the Donbass republics and former Ukrainian regions that recently voted to join Russia – as “annexed” parts of Ukraine.
Russia launched a massive missile barrage on Ukraine on Monday in retaliation for what President Vladimir Putin described as a pattern of Ukrainian attacks targeting Russian civilian infrastructure. He listed the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant, the TurkStream gas pipeline, and the Crimean Bridge among the targets of Ukrainian sabotage.
Putin said Kiev’s “terrorist tactics” could not be left unanswered, explaining the justification for the strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The deadly explosion on the Crimean Bridge took place on Saturday last week, and killed several civilians in addition to damaging the structure itself.