President of the United States Joe Biden on Monday said the U.S will not send rocket systems to Ukraine that could potentially reach into Russia, after reports that the administration was preparing to send long-range systems to the besieged European ally.
Ukrainian officials have been asking allies for longer-range systems including the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, that can fire a barrage of rockets hundreds of miles away.
“We’re not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that strike into Russia,” Biden told reporters after arriving back at the White House after a weekend in Delaware.
Multiple outlets had reported that the administration was leaning toward sending advanced long-range rocket systems to Ukraine, which is currently fending off an invasion from Moscow — and to which the U.S. is providing significant economic and military support.
Biden was asked about the potential move by reporters outside the White House and said that his administration would not send Ukraine rocket systems that strike into Russia.
The Washington Post reported that the administration was mulling providing the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), which would allow Ukrainians to fire rockets much further than they are currently able.
MLRS had reportedly been a top request from Ukrainian officials, who say they need it to stop the advance of Russian forces in the east, which has taken control of the key city of Lyman last week.
But U.S. intelligence has also warned about growing risks, particularly given a mismatch between Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparent ambitions and the performance of his military.
Ukraine has started receiving Harpoon anti-ship missiles from Denmark and self-propelled howitzers from the United States, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Saturday