Russia’s foreign ministry says providing such arms would make the US a party to the conflict
By Dave DeCamp
The Russian Foreign Ministry warned the US against providing Ukraine with longer-range missiles, saying that doing so would cross a “red line” and make Washington a “party to the conflict.”
The warning comes after it was revealed that Ukraine has asked the US to provide the Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, which have a range of about 190 miles, significantly farther than any weapons the US has sent at this point.
“Should Washington decide to supply longer-range missiles to Kyiv, by doing so it will cross a red line and become a direct party to the conflict. Under such a scenario, we will be forced to respond appropriately,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
The ATACMS can be fired from the HIMARS rocket launch systems that the US has already sent Ukraine. The HIMARS that Ukraine is using are currently equipped with munitions that can hit targets up to 50 miles away, known as Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS).
US officials have previously said that they won’t send Ukraine ATACMS over concerns that they could be used to target Russian territory. But the Biden administration has shown its willingness to escalate support for Kyiv and its involvement in the war despite the risks of provoking a response from Moscow.
The HIMARS were given to Ukraine under the condition that they wouldn’t be used to target Russian territory, and the Biden administration has said they received assurances from Ukrainian officials on the issue. But the ban doesn’t appear to apply to Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014.