The move comes in response to Kiev’s concerns that Moscow could launch a new offensive in the coming months
The US intends to provide Ukraine with more weapons in the near future, extending the strike range of its military, Politico has reported.
The media outlet, citing “six people with knowledge of the discussions,” claimed the move to provide additional supplies was prompted by concerns among top Ukrainian officials that Russia is amassing forces ahead of a major winter offensive.
Politico’s report alleges that the Biden administration is currently entertaining the possibility of providing Kiev with, among other things, ground-launched small diameter bombs and high-precision munitions with a range of 150km (94 miles). Also under consideration, according to the article, is the delivery of joint direct attack munition kits, which are used to convert unguided aerial munitions into smart bombs.
These deliveries would be in addition to existing plans for the shipment of Patriot air-defense systems, Politico reported. Several US media outlets have indicated that those plans are in the final stages.
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russia would certainly target these missile systems in Ukraine, should they be deployed there.
On Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder announced the expansion of a training program for Ukrainian military personnel at a US base on German soil. The number of troops attending there each month is reportedly expected to rise to around 500.
In recent days, top Ukrainian officials – including the country’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, and Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba – have expressed concerns that Russia could launch a massive offensive as early as next month. Zaluzhny did not rule out a new attempt by Moscow’s forces to take the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
He also called on the West to provide Ukraine with more weaponry, saying that an additional 300 tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 Howitzers would be needed to repel the Russian forces.
While the US has already supplied Ukraine with short-range NASAMS air-defense systems, Kiev has been specifically requesting Patriot batteries since October, when Russia began massive missile and drone strikes on the country’s critical infrastructure. Moscow said the new strategy came in response to Ukraine’s attacks on Russian infrastructure, including the Crimean Bridge.
Back in September, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Washington that “it would cross the red line and become an actual party to the conflict,” should it provide Ukraine with longer-range missiles.
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