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President Biden said Thursday that the United States is sending “more advanced rocket systems and munitions” as part of the latest weapons package for Ukraine, but stressed that his administration is not enabling the Ukrainians to strike outside their own border.
It’s the 11th package approved so far and will include helicopters, tactical vehicles, Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger antiaircraft missiles, and other advanced weapons.
“We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table,” the president wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times on Thursday.
“That’s why I’ve decided that we will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.”
Ukrainian officials have been pushing for more advanced rocket systems, such as the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), known as HIMARS (High Mobility Rockets System), which have a range of 83 to 185 miles and are expected to be included in the latest package.
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Biden said earlier in the week that he would not send “rocket systems that can strike into Russia,” a point he emphasized in Thursday’s op-ed.
“We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders,” Biden wrote. “We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia.”
Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” said the Biden administration recognizes that they are “walking a very, very fine line with the Russians” by sending more advanced systems.
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“The risk is always there. It’s about managing the risk,” Koffler told Fox News Digital.
“Both countries, neither Russia nor the United States, want to go to war with each other because both recognize that the minute they step on that path, it goes very quickly, and war gaming has demonstrated that it escalates uncontrollably.”
The latest weapons package draws from a nearly $40 billion bill Congress passed last month that will provide military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
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Russia warned last month of “unpredictable consequences” if the U.S. and NATO allies continue sending Ukraine “sensitive” weapons.