Ukraine threatens to retaliate if US fails to supply rocket systems

Ukraine threatens to retaliate if US fails to supply rocket systems

Presidential aide Alexey Arestovich has threatened Washington with an exemplary tantrum over non-supply of rocket artillery systems.

Kiev will resort to hysterical outbursts if the US fails to deliver multiple rocket launchers to Russia, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday. Alexey Arestovich was responding to comments made by US President Joe Biden, who said the US won't send long-range rockets to Ukraine that could hit Russia.

Washington is on the brink of stepping up the arming of Ukraine with heavier weapons. Arestovich, a key figure in Ukraine's messaging on military affairs, outlined Kiev's response to a scenario in which the weapons are not delivered as expected.

He said that the decision about the systems is coming soon and we will understand whether they will supply them or not. We ll have an exemplary tantrum if they don't. The US is expected to deliver two types of rocket systems to Ukraine, the M 270 Multiple Launch Rocket System MLRS and the M 142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System HIMARS. Both can launch tactical ballistic missiles with a range of up to 300 km, but the more affordable type of munitions can be fired in barrages.

On Monday, Biden said that the US was not going to send rocket systems to Ukraine that can strike Russia. Many people, including Arestovich, believe that he was talking about the munitions, not the launchers.

He said that seventy kilometers is more than enough for us, referring to the range of the smaller projectiles.

Media reports said that US officials were reticent to supply the longer-range missiles that could be used to attack targets in Russia because of concerns that Moscow would perceive it as a major escalation. Russia blamed Ukrainian forces for several cross-border incidents that hurt civilians and caused damage inside Russia. Kiev hasn't denied credit or claimed credit for them.

Ukraine has several Soviet-made rocket launchers in its arsenals, but it claims that the American systems would give it an advantage on the battlefield. Ukrainian troops have been retreating in the east this month, ceding territory claimed by Russian-backed republics in the Donbass region. Kiev suffered a setback in Mariupol, where over 2,000 troops surrendered to Russian forces after spending weeks under a blockade.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February after Ukraine s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements first signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. The German and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied that it was planning to retake the two republics by force.