Officials: US sends advanced missile systems to Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States plans to purchase and send more medium- and long-range missile systems to Ukraine, a move officials hope will help Ukrainian forces retain the last remaining segments of land in the It is from the Donbass that Russia has not yet been able to capture.

A senior defense official said on Monday that Ukrainian forces are already using advanced rocket systems effectively and that more of them will soon go to Ukraine with trained troops. A new plan for the United States to purchase and send NASAMS, an advanced surface-to-air missile system, to Ukraine is also in the works and would add to its longer-range rocket and missile strike capabilities.

President Joe Biden is expected to announce soon that the United States is buying NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system, to provide medium- and long-range defense for Ukraine, according to an administration official familiar with the matter. NASAMS is the same system used by the United States to protect the airspace around the White House and Capitol in Washington.

Both the defense official and the administration official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss US military assessments and plans that have yet to be announced.

Russia has launched an all-out assault on the last Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern Lugansk region – the city of Lysychansk – from the ground and the air, the local governor said on Monday. Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces were battling Lysychansk after capturing the nearby town of Sievierodonetsk in recent days.

It’s part of a beefed-up Russian offensive to wrest the wider Donbass region from Ukrainian government control in what Western experts say has become the new primary focus of President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, which is now in its final stages. fifth month.

The defense official said the United States continues to see morale problems and other command and control issues among Russian forces, and that some local Russian officials in Ukraine have been assassinated in recent days.

The United States has sent four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, to Ukraine, which are already in use. Four more will go soon.

Officials said the United States also plans to send additional aid soon, including more ammunition for Ukrainian artillery, as well as counter-battery radars, to help counter the Russian assault in Donbass.

The administration official said Biden was also announcing a $7.5 billion pledge to help the Ukrainian government meet its expenses, part of a withdrawal from the 40-year military and economic aid package. billion dollars that he signed into law last month.

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Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Elmau, Germany, contributed to this report.

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