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Friday, March 24, 2023

The US provides long-range missiles in the latest aid package.

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The US has said an additional $2.2 billion (£1.83 billion) worth of military aid to Ukraine will include long-range missiles that can double its attack range. This brings total military aid to Ukraine from February 2022 onwards to over US$29.3 billion (£24.31 billion). The package includes a small caliber ground-launched bomb (GLSDB) capable of hitting targets at a range of 150 km (93 miles).

However, officials declined to speculate that the ammunition could be used to attack parts of the annexed Crimea. Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and considers it part of its territory. But it has come under sporadic fire from Ukrainian forces in recent months. Western nations have repeatedly ruled out providing Ukraine with offensive weapons – such as fighter jets – which it could use to strike against Russia itself.

The GLSDB also gives Ukraine forces the ability to strike anywhere in the Russian-occupied Donbas, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions. It also allows Ukraine to threaten Russian supply lines in the east. Manufactured by Boeing and Saab, GLSDB is a gliding rocket with a small bomb attached, capable of striking a target within one meter of its position. And it can be fired from a variety of weapons systems, including the Himars and M270 MLRS systems already in use in Ukraine. However, both the Pentagon and Boeing refused to comment on delivery dates for the system, with some reports suggesting that it could take up to nine months before it reaches Ukraine.

The new package – which will also include additional Himars missiles and 250 Javelin anti-armor systems – comes amid mounting concerns that Western nations have been too slow to provide fresh military aid to Ukraine. The EU has repeatedly stressed that Ukraine must step up its fight against rampant corruption, eliminate political interference, reform its judicial system, and strengthen its economy. Elsewhere, Germany announced plans to send Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine. Early models of the Leopard 2s, which Berlin has already committed to delivering, can be delivered to Kyiv sooner than further developed models.

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