U.S. to send medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine, Biden says

The rockets can be used for precision attacks inside Ukraine, but not for shooting into Russia.

Updated: June 1, 2022 - 8:03am

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The Biden administration says it will send Ukraine a small number of medium-range rocket systems, a weapon Ukrainian leaders have been asking for as Russian forces continue to make progress in the Donbas region.

The high-tech rockets are part of a new $700 million package of security assistance headed to Ukraine from the U.S. that will also include helicopters, Javelin anti-tank missiles and tactical vehicles, according to the Associated Press.

The mid-range missiles were decided upon by the U.S. as it attempts to help Ukraine fight off Russian forces, while not handing over weapons that Ukraine could send deep into Russia further escalating the war. 

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

In a guest essay published this week in The New York Times, President Biden wrote that he is opting to "provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine."

He also wrote: "We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia."

Earlier in the week, Biden said the U.S. would not send Ukraine rocket systems that can "strike into Russia."

Ukrainians have assured U.S. officials that they will refrain from firing rockets into Russian territory.

The newly provided rockets will, however, likely give the Ukrainians with greater accuracy in their attempts to target Russian assets inside Ukraine. Ukrainian forces will likely use the new weapons systems in the eastern Donbas region where fighting is intense.