- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Biden administration is sending Ukraine an advanced missile system capable of striking targets up to 50 miles away, allowing them to hit further beyond Russian lines while being protected from Moscow’s own artillery.

On Wednesday, President Biden formally announced what he called a “significant new security assistance package” to the Ukrainian military that will give Kyiv new capabilities and advanced weaponry, including the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and its battlefield munitions. The package is one of the first since Congress approved a comprehensive $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, including military, economy and humanitarian aid.

HIMARS is a lighter and more agile wheel-mounted version of the track-mounted M270 Multiple-Launch Rocket System (MLRS) already in use by American forces in Europe along with NATO allies like Poland and Romania.

The HIMARS deal is part of a new $700 million aid package that also includes air surveillance radars and other weapons and equipment that will come from U.S. military stocks.

“The Ukrainians have given us assurances they will use this system for defensive purposes only,” Colin H. Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters at the Pentagon, even as top Kremlin officials were decrying the shipment as a direct threat to the Russian homeland.  

The HIMARS systems are already situated in Europe, but it will take at least three weeks to train the Ukrainian soldiers both on the weapon system and its maintenance needs, Mr. Kahl said.

SEE ALSO: Biden belittles Russian nuke threats as U.S, allies send more arms to Kyiv

“They have the right as a sovereign nation to defend their territory. They didn’t start this war — the Russians did,” Mr. Kahl said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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