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US to send medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-06-01 14:17

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (4th R) and visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (4th L) and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (3rd L) meet in Kyiv, Ukraine, April 24, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

WASHINGTON - The United States will send medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine in a new security assistance package, senior administration officials said Tuesday.

A 700-million-US-dollar weapon package will be formally unveiled Wednesday, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which are to enable Ukraine to fire more precisely at targets in its eastern part, the officials said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ukrainian officials had offered assurances that the HIMARS would not be used to strike targets inside the Russian territory.

The announcement came amid reports that the United States was preparing to aid Ukraine with advanced long-range rocket systems, something Kyiv is craving in its fights against Russia in the eastern Donbass region.

Instead of those long-range rocket systems that can travel as far as 186 miles (300 km), the United States is sending what it considers medium-range rockets to Ukraine, ones that can travel about 50 miles (80 km), according to the officials.

Also on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden wrote in a guest essay carried by The New York Times that his administration will continue to "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".

The United States does not seek "a war" between NATO and Russia, Biden said.

On Monday, he ruled out the possibility of Washington sending to Ukraine "rocket systems that can strike into Russia".

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