Biden says U.S. sending Ukraine advanced weapons, vehicles, parts to defend against Russia

President Joe Biden walks near the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. "America's goal is straightforward: We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine," he wrote in an op-ed Tuesday. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI

June 1 (UPI) — President Joe Biden‘s administration will send millions of dollars worth of defense equipment, including high-tech missile systems, to Ukraine to help the country ward off aggression by Russian forces.

Biden and administration officials announced the moves late on Tuesday, which are part of roughly $700 million in military aid that includes the medium-range missile systems, helicopters, Javelin anti-tank weapon systems, other vehicles and spare parts.

Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have long been pleading for some of the equipment to help them fend off Russian fighters across Ukraine. The fighting began in late February and is now in its fourth month.

Biden detailed the military shipments in a New York Times op-ed, in which he said the United States will deliver M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems with target ranges of about 50 miles.

“As the war goes on, I want to be clear about the aims of the United States in these efforts,” Biden wrote in the op-ed, which is titled “What America Will and Will Not Do in Ukraine.”

“America’s goal is straightforward: We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression.”

Biden’s announcement came as Russian forces continued to make advances in key parts of eastern Ukraine known as the Donbas. Severodonetsk was one of the region’s largest cities that had remained under Ukrainian control. That, however, has changed.

Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday that Russia now controls about 70% of the hub city in Luhansk. The Donbas, which is comprised of Luhansk and Donetsk, is now the main focus of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

While the longer-range weapons from the United States give Ukraine the capability to strike Russia from within its borders, Biden said in his op-ed that they are being given to Ukraine strictly for defensive purposes. He added that using them to strike targets inside Russia could prolong the war.

“We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia,” Biden wrote in the Times op-ed. “As much as I disagree with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and find his actions anoutrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow.

“So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces.”

Biden noted in the op-ed that the weapons shipments are intended to give Ukraine more strength at the bargaining table.

“We will 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,” he wrote.

“We will continue cooperating with our allies and partners on Russian sanctions, the toughest ever imposed on a major economy. We will continue providing Ukraine with advanced weaponry, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger antiaircraft missiles, powerful artillery and precision rocket systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters and ammunition.”


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