NewsWorldUS Prepares to Approve Shipment of Long-Range Rocket Launcher...

US Prepares to Approve Shipment of Long-Range Rocket Launcher Systems to Ukraine

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Kharkiv, a city holding out against Russian troops 3:47 Washington (CNN) — The Biden administration is preparing to bolster the kind of weaponry it offers Ukraine by sending advanced long-range rocket launcher systems that are among the main requests of Ukrainian officials, according to various sources.
The administration is leaning toward sending the systems as part of a broader package of military and security aid to Ukraine, which could be announced as soon as next week. Senior Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have in recent weeks called for the United States and its allies to provide them with the MLRS rocket launcher system. These US-made weapons systems can fire multiple rockets hundreds of miles, much farther than any systems Ukraine currently has, which the Ukrainians say could be decisive in their war against Russia. Another system Ukraine has requested is HIMARS, a lighter wheeled multiple missile launcher system capable of firing many of the same ammunition types as MLRS. In this 2020 file photo, a US soldier sits next to a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) after a live fire event by the US Army’s 41st Field Artillery Brigade. United in Europe, in Germany. In recent weeks, Russia has attacked Ukraine in the east of the country, where it has fewer personnel and more weapons, Ukrainian officials have stated. However, the Biden administration hesitated for weeks about sending the systems, amid concerns raised at the National Security Council that Ukraine could use the systems to carry out offensive attacks inside Russia, the officials said. The issue was high on the agenda of two White House meetings last week in which Cabinet members met to discuss national security policy, according to the officials. At the heart of the issue was the same concern the administration has grappled with since the start of the war: whether the shipment of increasingly heavy weaponry to Ukraine will be seen by Russia as a provocation that could trigger some sort of retaliation against Russia. USA. One of the main obstacles, according to the sources, has been the long range of the rocket systems. The MLRS and its lighter version, the HIMARS, can launch rockets up to 300 km, or 186 miles, depending on the type of munition. They are fired from a mobile vehicle at ground targets, which would allow the Ukrainians to more easily attack targets inside Russia. Ukraine is believed to have already carried out numerous cross-border attacks within Russia, something that the Ukrainian authorities neither confirm nor deny. Russian officials have publicly said that any threat to their homeland would constitute a major escalation and have said that Western countries are making themselves a legitimate target in the war by continuing to arm the Ukrainians. Another major concern within the Biden administration has been whether the US could afford to give away so many high-end weapons drawn from military stockpiles, the sources said. This is the M777 weapons system that the US donated to Ukraine to defend itself 1:11 Asked Monday if the US would provide the systems, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was reticent. “I don’t want to get ahead of where we are in the resource allocation process,” he told reporters. The administration had similar concerns about supplying Ukraine with additional MiG-29 fighter jets, which some feared might allow the Ukrainians to take the fight to Russia. In the end, the United States decided not to equip Poland with new planes, which would have allowed the Poles to equip Ukraine with Soviet-era MiGs. The debate over MLRS is also similar to the one that took place before the United States decided to start sending heavier, long-range howitzers to Ukraine last month. Weapons packages focused on Javelin anti-tank and Stinger short-range anti-aircraft missiles, as well as small arms and ammunition. At the time, the M777 howitzers represented a significant increase in range and power over earlier systems, but even these have a maximum range of about 25 kilometers or 18 miles. The MLRS can fire much further than any artillery the United States has sent to date. One solution could be to provide Ukraine with shorter-range rocket systems, according to the officials, something that is also being considered. It wouldn’t take too long to train the Ukrainians on any of the rocket launch systems, officials told CNN — probably about two weeks, they said. Each drawdown of existing inventories implies a review of their possible effect on US military readiness. With previous reductions, the risk has been “relatively low,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Monday. The military is monitoring “very, very carefully” to make sure reserves don’t fall below levels that create the most risk, he added. The concern is heightened significantly with more capable and more expensive systems that the US does not have as large a supply of, the sources said. Pentagon officials met with the CEO of Lockheed Martin last week to discuss supply and increased production of the MLRS, a source familiar with the meeting told CNN. The meeting was led by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Bill LaPlante. The UK is also considering shipping the systems, two officials told CNN, and would like to do so jointly with the United States. Children walk between buildings destroyed during the fighting in Mariupol, in the territory under the rule of the Donetsk People’s Republic, in eastern Ukraine, on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Frustration on the Ukrainian side has grown in recent weeks. because of the indecision of the United States, because
they believe that once the United States ships the systems, other countries will quickly follow suit. Earlier this week, the Pentagon had told Ukraine “we are working on it,” an irritated Ukrainian official said, adding that Ukraine asks for an update on the decision “every hour.” “We are in dire need of weapons that will enable us to engage the enemy at long range,” Ukraine’s top military commander, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said on Thursday. “And this cannot be delayed, because the price of delay is measured by the lives of the people who have protected the world from [fascismo ruso]When Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was asked on Thursday what his country’s most urgent needs are, he replied: “If you really care about Ukraine, weapons, weapons and weapons again.” phrase I like least is ‘We’re working on it’; I hate her. I want to hear either ‘We got it’ or ‘It’s not going to happen,'” he added. Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, who was part of a congressional delegation trip to Kyiv earlier this month, told CNN that he believes the systems could help Ukraine gain significant momentum against Russia.”I think it could be a game changer, to be honest,” Crow said, not just for offensive attacks, but also for defense. explained that Russian conventional artillery, which has a range of about 50 km, “would not come close” to Ukrainian urban centers if MLRS systems were placed there.”So it would take away their siege tactics,” he said. — Oren CNN’s Liebermann and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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