- Biden says the US won’t give Ukraine long-range rocket systems that can hit Russia.
- The US has been expected to approve the transfer of MLRS long-range multiple rocket launchers.
- Biden was not specific on the exact systems, seeming to leave open the possibility of a transfer.
President Joe Biden said Monday that the US won’t supply Ukraine with long-range rocket systems that can hit Russian territory, Reuters reported.
“We are not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia,” Biden told Reuters reporter Steve Holland when asked on the US position.
Biden did not elaborate on which specific long-range rocket systems the US had ruled out sending. Ukraine has said long-range weapons are its most urgent request from allies.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Several reports last week detailed that US was preparing to approve the transfer of MLRS rocket launchers to Ukraine, which have a maximum range of more than 180 miles.
Biden’s response left it unclear whether such a transfer could go ahead.
Speaking to the G7 leaders summit earlier this month, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked the West to provide it two specific types of long-range arms.
“Ukraine must receive all the weapons and all the defense equipment that will allow the defeat of tyranny — in particular the M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS multiple launch rocket systems,” he said.
The US has a wide selection of long-range missile systems, including the MGM-140 ATACMS, which has a range of 190 miles.
Last week Ukraine’s military said it needed “NATO-style MLRS” weapons “immediately” to combat Russian advances.
The US is trying to leave as small a footprint as possible in its attempts to help Ukraine defeat Russia, so as not to anger President Vladimir Putin.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and former Russian president, wrote on Telegram Monday suggesting that Biden made his statement on long-range weapons because he knew Russia would launch a retaliatory attack on the US.
“The Russian Armed Forces would have fulfilled their threat and struck at the centers of these criminal decisions. Some of them are not located in Kyiv at all. What’s next, no need to explain…,” he wrote.