Ukraine has been requesting the US to send more advanced rocket systems for quite some time now, which will essentially help Ukrainian forces strike targets more accurately from a greater distance. But up to now, there has been hesitation from the US, with officials worried that the weapons could be used against targets in Russia.
But in The New York Times on Wednesday, US President Biden wrote an op-ed where he said that the US would send the weapons to Ukraine to increase the country’s negotiating power against Russia as the invasion continues into its third month. It’s one of the US’ strongest military commitments so far, but Biden has clarified that it has only agreed to do this after being promised by Zelenskiy that the weapons wouldn’t be used against targets in Russia. “We’re not interested in what is happening in Russia," Zelenskiy said in an interview. “We’re only interested in our own territory in Ukraine."
Russia wasn’t happy, saying that it views the situation “extremely negatively.”
“We are not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia," Biden told reporters in Washington.
“We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia,” wrote Biden in the op-ed. “As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, 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. We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia.”
“We view this extremely negatively, because attempts to present the decision as containing elements of ‘self-restraint’ are useless," said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to state media. “It is obvious that the US, at the head of a group of countries, is pumping weapons directly to the Kyiv regime. And the juggling and manipulation of some particular aspects of what is happening do not change the overall picture for us."