|Ukraine urges West to provide more long-range weapons|
President of the United States (US), Joe Biden, stressed Washington will not send rocket systems to Ukraine to reach Russia, Monday (30/5/2022). Biden's comments followed reports that the Democratic President's government was preparing to send a sophisticated long-range rocket system to Kyiv. "We're not going to send a rocket system to Ukraine that can reach Russia," Biden told reporters after arriving back at the White House Monday, according to the Reuters news service.
Ukrainian officials have been looking for a long-range system called the Multiple Launch Rocket System or MLRS, which can fire a barrage of rockets hundreds of miles away. It is not clear which system Biden referred to in his remarks. CNN and The Washington Post reported Friday that the Biden administration is leaning toward sending the MLRS and another system, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS, as part of a larger military aid package to Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government has urged the West to provide more long-range weapons to turn the tide of the war. As is known, currently the Russian invasion of Ukraine has entered its fourth month. US officials say such weapons systems are being actively considered. The US has provided Ukrainian forces with thousands of Stinger portable anti-aircraft missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles as well as advanced drones and field artillery. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week warned Western powers against supplying Ukraine with weapons capable of striking Russian territory.
Lavrov warned such a move would be a "serious step towards an unacceptable escalation". Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the urgency of his country's need for larger weapons can be summed up in two abbreviations: MLRS - a multiple launch rocket system, and ASAP - as soon as possible. Kuleba said on May 25 that the situation in the eastern Donbas region was "very bad". The rocket system could help Ukrainian forces try to retake places like the southern city of Kherson from Russian invaders who invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Speaking on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Kuleba said he held about 10 bilateral meetings with other leaders whose countries have such systems, The Associated Press reported. "The response I got was, 'Has America given it to you?'," he said, referring to the US leadership. "So this is the burden of being a leader. Everyone is looking at you. So Washington has to keep its word and get us some launch rocket systems as soon as possible. Others will follow."
"If we don't get MLRS soon, the situation in Donbas will be even worse than it is now," he added. "Every day someone sits in Washington, Berlin, Paris and other capital cities, and considers whether or not they should do something,
sacrificing our lives and our territory."
More than 4,000 people have died in Ukraine and millions have been displaced since the Russian invasion began.