WASHINGTON — President Biden said on Tuesday the United States would send Ukraine advanced missile systems and ammunition that would allow it to more accurately target Russian military assets within its borders.
In an Op-Ed published online Tuesday evening by DailyExpertNews, Mr. Biden said the delivery of the advanced missile systems would enable Ukraine “to fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.” .
The Biden administration has already sent Ukraine billions of dollars worth of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and other military equipment as the country fights off the three-month-old Russian invasion.
As the war dragged on, the Biden administration gradually expanded the arsenal it supplied to the Ukrainians. But top officials are concerned about provoking a wider war with Russia’s President Vladimir V. Putin by supplying weapons that will allow Ukraine to strike deep into his country.
In his article, Biden stressed that the new missiles would be used to “hit key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine”. And he said the United States did not want to involve Russia in a wider conflict.
He stated bluntly that he was not trying to overthrow Mr Putin, despite his superficial remarks during a speech in Poland earlier this year when he said the Russian president “cannot stay in power”.
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden presented a different position.
“We are not aiming for a war between NATO and Russia,” he said. “As much as I disagree with Mr Putin and find his actions disgraceful, the United States will not try to secure his impeachment in Moscow.”
He added: “As long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly involved in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces.”
Mr Biden had told reporters on Monday that “we will not send missile systems to Ukraine that can attack Russia.”
Officials have not provided details on exactly what types of missiles the United States will supply. The most widely used by the Pentagon is the M31 GMLRS – for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System – a satellite-guided precision weapon that has about the same explosive power as a 500-pound bomb dropped from the sky.
It can fly more than 40 miles, well beyond the range of the artillery that Ukraine now uses. According to a report published in June by the Congressional Research Service, the Pentagon has spent about $5.4 billion since 1998 to buy more than 42,000 such missiles.
But Biden made it clear in his Op-Ed on Tuesday that the government was ready to supply Ukraine with more advanced weapons as the Russian military makes gains in the eastern part of the country.
“Assisting Ukraine in its hour of need is not just the right thing to do,” he wrote. “It is in our vital national interest to ensure a peaceful and stable Europe and to make it clear that may not be right.”