USA TODAY:Follow View Profile Biden administration to send long-range rocket system to Ukraine as part of new aid package

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will send Ukraine a long-range rocket system as part of a new $700 million security package that’s is going to be announced Wednesday.

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State Department briefing highlights Ukraine, Iran

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Ukrainian officials have been asking for longer-range systems to defend themselves from Russia’s ongoing attacks. The announcement comes a day after Biden said the United States was not going “to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia.”

Biden wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times that he “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.”

“America’s goal is straightforward: We want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression,” Biden wrote.

Senior administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said Tuesday the U.S. would be sending HIMARS (High Mobility Rocket Systems) to Ukraine. The officials said in a call with reporters that Ukrainian officials have given the United States assurances that the rockets will only be used in Ukraine and will not be used on Russian territory.

An official said the HIMARS rocket system range is about 80 kilometers or roughly 48 miles.

The officials said the administration will also provide air surveillance radars, additional javelins, as well as anti-armor weapons.

This is the eleventh security package that the Biden administration has sent to Ukraine.

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The United States committed to sending an additional $40 billion in support to Ukraine after Congress passed a bipartisan aid package in mid-May.

The package, which Biden signed on a plane during his trip to Asia earlier this month, is intended to get Ukraine through September as the Russian invasion approaches its fourth month.

The aid package included more than $20 billion for the Pentagon to provide weapons, intelligence and training, and nearly $14 billion for the State Department for food aid, refugee assistance and other diplomatic programs.

Contributing: Jeanine Santucci and Ella Lee

Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_

Biden administration to send long-range rocket system to Ukraine as part of new aid package (msn.com)

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