A new US weapon could cross Russia’s ‘red line’

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin pledged further support for Ukraine during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday, as reported by the German news website merkur.de.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Austin held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov. The aid package includes anti-aircraft missiles, artillery shells, and cold-weather clothing as part of the confrontation with Russia. Additionally, a multiple rocket artillery system named M142 HIMARS, with a package worth 100 million dollars, is to be sent to Ukraine, as reported by the U.S. news magazine Newsweek.

So far, the U.S. has delivered 38 HIMARS rocket launchers to Ukraine. Due to the current delivery of a single HIMARS, the Ukrainian media portal Militarnyi speculates a special modification that could enable the new HIMARS to fire long-range weapons. This could lead to a crossing of the ‘red line’ emphasized by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last year, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, warned Washington that supplying Ukraine with long-range missiles would make the USA a direct party to the conflict.

In September, the U.S. announced the delivery of short-range ballistic missiles ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems) to Ukraine. Putin described this as a ‘mistake of great, yet invisible nature’ and warned that it would increasingly involve the USA in the conflict.

Image: Kremlin.ru, Vladimir Putin (24.06.2023), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (Image size changed)

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