The Kremlin is accusing President Joe Biden of “deliberately and diligently pouring fuel on the fire” by sending more rockets to Ukraine.
The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that they would be sending rocket systems as part of a new $700 million in security assistance to Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.
The Associated Press reports that the package includes helicopters, Javelin anti-tank weapon systems, tactical vehicles, spare parts and more.
In a New York Times guest op-ed from Biden, published on Tuesday, the president announced, “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.”
Biden added that, “standing by Ukraine in its hour of need is not just the right thing to do. It is in our vital national interests to ensure a peaceful and stable Europe and to make it clear that might does not make right.”
“We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia,” Biden also stated.
The president had said earlier in the week that the US will not send Ukraine “rocket systems that can strike into Russia,” but as the AP noted, any weapons system can shoot into Russia if it’s close enough to the border. The rockets being sent can usually travel approximately 45 miles.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has allegedly assured the US that the weapons will not be used to attack Russia, though the Kremlin has expressed skepticism about their promises.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the US of “deliberately and diligently pouring fuel on the fire,” and said that they do not trust Ukraine’s promises that they will not attack Russia.
“In order to trust (someone), you need to have experience with situations when such promises were kept. Regretfully, there is no such experience whatsoever,” Peskov said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price has also claimed that the weapons are only meant for use on battlefields within Ukraine.
“We continue to consider a range of systems that have the potential to be effective on the battlefield for our Ukrainian partners. But the point the president made is that we won’t be sending long-range rockets for use beyond the battlefield in Ukraine,” Price said during a briefing on Tuesday. “As the battle has shifted its dynamics, we have also shifted the type of security assistance that we are providing to them, in large part because they have asked us for the various systems that are going to be more effective in places like the Donbas.”