Biden authorizes more military aid for Ukraine but limits offensive use of advanced rocket systems

President Joe Biden has made his expansive support of Ukraine in opposition to the Russian invasion abundantly clear, but he has recently signaled that there are some limits to that financial and military support.

Biden authorized yet another tranche of military aid to Ukraine this week but drew the line at providing that nation with weapons systems that could be used offensively by Ukraine to strike targets within Russian territory, The Hill reported.

The president also reiterated his aversion to deploying U.S. troops into Ukraine to fight directly against Russian troops and insisted that there were no plans to see Russian President Vladimir Putin removed from power — a gambit he had previously alluded to as a possibility.

Biden draws line at attacking targets in Russia

There had been rumors in recent days of a new aid package for Ukraine and speculation that the aid would include long-range artillery and rocket systems that would be capable of reaching targets deep within Russian territory.

President Biden was asked that Monday, if long-range rocket systems would be provided to Ukraine, but Biden replied, “We’re not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia.

That isn’t entirely accurate, though, as new advanced rocket systems that are capable of striking Russian targets are included in the roughly $700 million aid package that was formally announced Wednesday in a press release from Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Ukraine promises not to use advanced rocket systems offensively

Indeed, a background press call Tuesday night with unnamed “senior administration officials” about the impending tranche of aid — the eleventh such package since the conflict began in late February — noted that the aid would include a longer-range artillery and rocket system than had previously been provided to Ukraine.

That system is dubbed HIMARS — High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems — and though it certainly is capable of reaching deep into Russian territory, the Biden administration is purportedly not providing the particular munitions that can reach that far and instead is only providing munitions capable of reaching a medium range.

Further, the administration has repeatedly insisted that Ukraine has provided “assurances” that it won’t simply move those systems closer to its border with Russia to use them offensively against targets inside the enemy’s territory.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered such assurances himself in a recent interview with Newsmax, and said, “I know some of the people in the United States are saying, or people in the White House are saying we might be using them to attack Russia: Look, we’re not planning to attack Russia. We’re not interested in the Russian Federation. We’re not fighting on their territory.”

Russia says Biden is fueling the fire

That said, Russia doesn’t believe those assurances from Ukraine, and The Hill noted that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Biden administration was “deliberately pouring oil on the fire” simply by providing the advanced long-range weaponry to Ukraine.

President Biden may be trying to walk a fine line in providing ample military aid to Ukraine without getting the U.S. directly involved in the fighting or causing the conflict to expand beyond Ukraine’s borders, but that is a fine line indeed and any sort of misstep could potentially result in seriously devastating ramifications for the United States.

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