US to send longer-range rockets to Ukraine in latest aid package

The US will send Ukraine more advanced rocket systems to help it defend itself, President Biden has announced.

The weapons, long requested by Ukraine, are to help it strike targets more precisely from a longer distance.

Until now, the US had refused the request out of fear the weapons could be used against targets in Russia.

But on Wednesday, Mr Biden said “the lethal aid would strengthen Kyiv’s negotiating position against Russia and make a diplomatic solution more likely.”

Writing in the New York Times, he said: “That is why I’ve decided that we will 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.”

New weaponry will include the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a senior White House official said – although he did not specify how many of them would be supplied, the BBC reports.

The systems can launch multiple precision-guided missiles at targets as far as 70km away – far further than the artillery that Ukraine currently has.

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