June 2, 2022
The Russian government has slammed the Biden Administration’s decision to include medium-range rocket systems in the United States’ most recent weapons package to Ukraine, reports The Hill.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, June 1, that Biden’s decision is “deliberately and diligently pouring fuel on the fire,” The Associated Press was among the first to communicate.
A senior White House official said the United States was comfortable giving Ukraine the rocket systems after being assured that the Ukrainian government would use it only to counter Russian systems, not attack Russian territory.
Peskov said the Kremlin does not trust Ukraine’s assurances that it would not use the systems to attack Russia, according to AP.
“In order to trust [someone], you need to have experience with situations when such promises were kept,” Peskov said. “Regretfully, there is no such experience whatsoever.”
The U.S. is sending Ukraine High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and munitions that would enable Ukrainian forces to more precisely strike targets from a greater distance inside Ukraine. The systems can hit targets nearly 50 miles away.
Multiple news outlets had reported that the Biden Administration was planning to send Ukraine a different missile system that could reach targets up to 300 kilometers away, but Biden ruled out providing Ukraine with that system on Monday.
Biden announced the decision on the rockets in an op-ed in The New York Times on Tuesday, March 31. He also said the United States is not trying to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He said the country’s goal is to ensure a “democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine.”
The U.S. decision comes as Russia has been tightening its grip on the easternmost areas of Ukraine, specifically in the Donbas region. Russian forces have concentrated on the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk as the last remaining Ukrainian strongholds in the Luhansk province.
Research contact: @thehill