Watching the World·Russian-Ukrainian Conflict | Overweighting the Fire, the United States is preparing to provide long-range rockets to Ukraine for the first time
Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, February 1 (Xinhua) US officials disclosed on January 31 that the US government is preparing to provide Ukraine with a new batch of weapons and equipment worth US$2.2 billion, including long-range rockets with a range of up to 150 kilometers for the first time.
Recently, the situation has become increasingly unfavorable to the Ukrainian side in Bakhmut, an important transportation hub in the Donetsk region. As a result, the West increased its military aid. Russian officials pointed out that Western countries did this to “fight to the last Ukrainian” with Russia.
On March 24, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden attended a press conference after the NATO special summit at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Zheng Huansong
Two U.S. government officials who did not want to be named told Reuters that in the new batch of aid to Ukraine, 1.725 billion U.S. dollars will come from the “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative”, which means that the aided military equipment will be ordered from U.S. military enterprises, not Transferred from existing U.S. military stocks. Ammunition ordered will for the first time include the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB).
This long-range rocket has a maximum range of 150 kilometers and is suitable for the “Hippocampus” and M270 rockets that the United States aided Ukraine. Uzbekistan hopes to use it to attack Russian military arsenals in Crimea and other places and cut off Russian military supply lines.
According to Reuters reports, Ukraine also hopes to obtain the Army Tactical Missile (ATACM) with a range of nearly 300 kilometers, but the United States once again rejected it because it is worried that Ukraine will use it to attack major cities and military bases in Russia.
The US “Wall Street Journal” reported on January 31 that the US military enterprise General Atomics proposed to sell two MQ-9 “Reaper” reconnaissance and strike drones with a unit price of about 30 million US dollars to Ukraine at a symbolic price of 1 US dollar. But Uzbekistan needs to bear the transportation cost of 10 million US dollars and the annual maintenance cost of 8 million US dollars.
Since Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine last February, the United States has provided about $27.2 billion in military aid to Ukraine. On January 25, US President Joseph Biden announced that he would provide 31 “Abrams” main battle tanks. Under the pressure of the United States and other allies, Germany also announced that it would provide the “Leopard 2” main battle tank.
Biden told the media at the White House on January 31 that he would discuss with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s new request for “advanced weapons.” Biden previously refused to provide US-made F-16 fighter jets. However, the US “Politics” reported with informed officials as its source, and the possibility of Biden changing this position cannot be ruled out.
The United States and other Western countries have aided Ukraine with main battle tanks, and even openly discussed the possibility of providing fighter jets. The reason is that Ukraine has recently fallen into a passive position on the battlefield, especially in the competition around Bakhmut.
This is the White House photographed on January 20 in Washington, the capital of the United States.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Liu Jie
According to Agence France-Presse, after taking control of the small salt mine town of Soledar not far from Bakhmut in mid-January, the Russian army continued to capture the outer targets of Bakhmut in an attempt to encircle the Ukrainian defenders.
In the city of Wuhledar, about 150 kilometers south of Bakhmut, the two sides are fighting fiercely. “It’s very tense, the situation gets worse as time goes by,” a 45-year-old Ukrainian soldier who identified himself as Alexander told AFP between firing mortars outside the city.
According to Ukrainian military sources, the Russian army is also attacking from the direction of Hongliman, north of Bakhmut, in an attempt to recapture the railway hub city that was recaptured by the Ukrainian army in October last year.
According to Russian sources, if Bakhmut is captured, the Russian army will open up a route to the northwest to Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, Ukraine’s core positions in the Donetsk region. Kramatorsk is the seat of the Ukrainian interim state government, and Slavyansk is an important transportation point. The Ukrainian army has been operating in these two industrial cities for a long time.
Russian Satellite News Agency quoted Sergei Naryshkin, director of the Russian Federal Foreign Intelligence Service, as saying on February 1 that the West is expanding the number and types of weapons provided to Ukraine. “They still dream of Russia’s strategic failure, so the bet is on increase”.
Naryshkin said that the logic behind the increase in Western military aid is that “the United States and its allies have the determination to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.”