According to the Biden administration, it will send Ukraine a few high-tech medium-range rocket systems.
This weapon is critical for Ukrainian leaders as they try to stop Russian progress in Donbas.
Two senior administration officials stated Tuesday that the rocket systems form part of a $700 million new tranche of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. It will include helicopters and Javelin anti-tank weapons systems, tactical vehicles, spares, and more. Officials spoke under anonymity in order to give a preview of the weapons package, which will be officially unveiled Wednesday.
The U.S. decision not to provide advanced rocket systems to Ukraine aims to balance the need to assist Ukraine against the Russian artillery fire, but also to avoid providing arms that could enable Ukraine to hit targets deep within Russia, triggering an increase in war.
In a guest essay, published Tuesday night in The New York Times by Joe Biden, the President confirmed that he will provide Ukraine with "more advanced rocket systems and ammunition that will allow them to more precisely hit key targets on the Ukrainian battlefield."
Biden said Monday that the U.S. would never send Ukraine "rocket system that can strike into Russia." However, any weapon system that is close enough to Russia's border can be used to shoot at it. Officials said that the aid package, which will be revealed Wednesday, would include medium-range rockets. They can generally travel approximately 45 miles (70 km) in the United States.
According to senior administration officials, the Ukrainians have promised U.S. officials they won't fire rockets on Russian territory. According to one official, the Ukrainian forces will be able to target Russian assets more precisely with the advanced rocket systems.
It is possible that Ukraine will use the rockets in eastern Donbas to intercept Russian artillery or take out Russian positions in areas where fighting is fierce, such as Sievierodonetsk.
It is crucial to Russian efforts in the Donbas to be captured before Western arms arrive to support Ukraine's defense. It is located 90 miles (145 km) south of Russia's border and is located in an area that is under Ukrainian government control in Luhansk, the Donbas.
In his New York Times essay, Biden stated that "We aren't encouraging or enabling Ukraine strike beyond its borders." We don't want to prolong war to inflict suffering on Russia.
This is the 11th approved package so far and the first to tap into the $40 billion in economic and security assistance recently approved by Congress. The Pentagon drawdown authority would allow for the use of weapons from U.S. inventories to quickly get the rocket systems into Ukraine. Training for the new systems would be required by Ukrainian troops, which could take up to a week.
Officials stated that the goal is to send Ukraine the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (or HIMARS). It is mounted on a truck and can transport a container with six rockets. Although the system is capable of firing medium-range rockets, it is also capable of firing an Army Tactical Missile System (which has a range approximately 190 miles (303 kilometers). This is not part the plan.