UK seeks to arm Ukraine with weapons US won’t send — Analysis
London is mulling providing Kiev with American-made rocket launchers but needs Washington’s approval
Britain would like to send the M270MLRS systems to Ukraine, heavier counterparts to the M142 HIMARS provided by Washington as part of its recent arms aid package to Kiev. Because both rocket artillery systems were made in the US, the UK will require American approval for any weapons transfer.
London’s intention was confirmed by British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Wednesday. The launchers can strike targets as far away as 80km and will offer a range of launching options. “a significant boost in capability for the Ukrainian forces,”According to the British Foreign Office.
Lockheed Martin makes both of these systems that fire similar types rockets. The HIMARS, which is wheeled, carries fewer projectiles per unit than the tracked MLRS. Both variants were considered by the US, but they chose to supply only one.
Politico reports that the British government has been in negotiations with the Biden administration to obtain permission to purchase heavier launchers for its arsenal. A source said that Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, spoke to Joe Biden Wednesday morning about the matter. The two nations’ chief diplomats, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss of the UK and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are to discuss it further on Thursday morning. Expect the US to approve this proposal.
A source claimed that the Biden administration had encouraged HIMARS operators from other countries to go to Ukraine with the MLRS. The US-made heavy rocketer is used by 15 nations.
Washington made the announcement this week that it would provide Ukraine with more advanced weapons. However, the US did not declare itself a participant in the conflict. Secretary Blinken indicated that Kiev had given assurances to the US that weapons wouldn’t be used on Russian territories.
Moscow pointed to a record of broken promises made by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky since the start of his political career, arguing that his word doesn’t carry much weight. Russia stated that it would use military force to counter the threats from American weapons held in Ukrainian hands. Russia stated that Washington had escalated the crisis, increasing Russia’s risk of confrontation and threatening to use military means to mitigate this threat. Officials from the United States claimed they were trying to prevent such a thing.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German-brokered protocols were intended to provide special status for the Ukrainian states that break away from the state.
Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.
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