The U.S. will send another batch of military equipment worth $700 million to Ukraine, including advanced rocket systems, the White House announced late Tuesday.
In an op-ed published in The New York Times, President Joe Biden explained how he plans to support Ukraine as it struggles to defend itself against Russian aggression. “We will continue providing Ukraine with advanced weaponry, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger antiaircraft missiles, powerful artillery and precision rocket systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters and ammunition,” he wrote. “We will also send billions more in financial assistance, as authorized by Congress.”
The rocket systems are particularly notable since they will allow Ukrainian forces to strike deeper into Russian-held territory – and, some critics worry, increase the risk of expanding the war into Russia itself. A senior White House official told The New York Times that the Ukrainians had agreed not to use the rocket systems – called the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, the most sophisticated weapon provided to Ukraine so far – to attack Russian territory. The White House also said that it was sending rockets that could travel 48 miles, but not the longer-range munitions that can travel nearly 200 miles.
Biden sought to reassure Russia that the U.S. did not want to see the conflict expand. “We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia,” he wrote. “We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.”
The bottom line: The U.S. has already sent Ukraine about $5 billion worth of military equipment, and military experts say more will likely be provided, with the war expected to grind on for months.