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Biden agrees to supply Ukraine with longer-range missiles According to Reuters

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© Reuters. A Ukrainian soldier walks in a trench at a position near the front line, as Russia’s offensive into Ukraine continues, in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine May 29, 2022. REUTERS / Serhii Nuzhnenko

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By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden has agreed to provide Ukraine with advanced missile systems that can accurately strike long-range Russian targets as part of a $700 million weapons package. is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

The US is supplying Ukraine with highly mobile artillery missile systems that can accurately hit targets at a distance of 80 km (50 miles) after Ukraine “assured” that it would not use missiles. to attack inside Russia, senior administration officials said.

In a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday, Mr. Biden said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would end with diplomacy but that the United States must provide substantial weapons and ammunition to give Ukraine high leverage. at the negotiating table.

“That is why I have decided that we will provide Ukraine with more advanced munitions and missile systems that will enable them to more accurately strike key targets on the Ukrainian battlefield,” Biden wrote.

The package also includes ammunition, counter-reaction radar, several air-surveillance radars, additional Javelin anti-tank missiles, as well as anti-armor weapons, officials said.

Ukrainian officials have asked their allies for longer-range missile systems that can fire a salvo of missiles hundreds of miles away, in the hope of turning the tide in the three-month war.

On Tuesday, Mr. Biden told reporters that “we will not send to Ukraine missile systems to attack Russia.”

He did not rule out providing any particular weapon systems, but instead appeared to set conditions on how they could be used. Biden wants to help Ukraine defend itself but has opposed providing weapons that Ukraine could use to attack Russia.

Thousands of people have been killed in Ukraine and millions more displaced since Russia’s February 24 invasion, which Moscow calls a “special military operation” aimed at “discrediting” the country. neighbor. Ukraine and its Western allies call this a baseless pretext for a war over territory.

The West is increasingly willing to supply Ukraine with longer-range weapons, including the M777 howitzer, as its forces battle Russia with more success than intelligence officials had anticipated.

However, US intelligence has also warned of growing risks, especially given the mismatch between Russian President Putin’s apparent ambitions and the operational effectiveness of the military.

Ukraine has begun receiving Harpoon anti-ship missiles from Denmark and self-propelled artillery from the US, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Saturday.

(This story reassembles to add the omitted word “include” in the fifth paragraph)

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