Ukraine has pleaded for increased military support from western nations, with the tide turning in favor of Russia in the continued conflict inside the country.
Russia has doubled down on efforts to secure territory in the east of the country, with a barrage of artillery and air strikes putting Ukrainian defenses under increasing pressure.
Ukrainian military officials say they desperately need advanced US-made mobile multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to hold back Russian troops advancing in Luhansk and Donetsk. The rockets would enable Ukrainian forces to attack longer-range targets, more effectively disrupting operations and supply lines.
“We are in great need of weapons that will make it possible to engage the enemy over a long distance,” said General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief. “The price of delay is measured by the lives of people who have protected the world”.
Deliveries of the weapons have been delayed by disagreements in Washington, with some of President Biden’s advisers worried that the rockets may be used to attack targets inside Russia, drawing the US and Nato into the conflict. Kyiv has previously launched attacks on Russian territory.
Moscow will be acutely aware of the potential of the rocket systems to turn the conflict in Ukraine’s favor, and whilst no official statement on the issue has been forthcoming opposition has been clearly shown via other channels.
Olga Skabeeva, a popular host on Russian state TV regarded as an unofficial Kremlin mouthpiece, said that the US would “cross a red line” if they delivered the weapons, adding that they could expect Russia’s response to be “very harsh”.