Despite this past week which has seen US officials echo growing concerns over Moscow's ratcheting nuclear rhetoric - which Ukraine too has said it is taking seriously - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is now boasting his country has received a new, advanced US missile system.
He confirmed in a fresh interview with CBS’s "Face the Nation" that the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) has been long sought after by Kyiv, but previously in the war repeatedly denied:
Zelensky thanked the U.S. for the system as well as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems it’s received, but added that his troops "absolutely need the United States to show leadership and give Ukraine" additional air defense systems it has requested.
Ukraine began urgently asking for transfer of the NASAMS by early summer, but the Biden administration as reluctant to provide missile systems with longer range, concerned they would be used to strike inside Russian territory and thus drag Washington and Moscow into direct cofronation.
According to a CNN report in June, "Ukrainian officials have asked for the missile defense system, known as a NASAMS system, given the weapons can hit targets more than 100 miles away, though the Ukrainian forces will likely need to be trained on the systems, a source said."
But that's apparently no longer enough of a concern to halt these longer range systems, despite the Kremlin repeatedly warning that attacks on its territory with foreign weapons are a severe red line.
According to The Hill:
The Biden administration approved the shipment of six of the missile systems late last month as part of a nearly $3 billion lethal aid package to bolster Kyiv as it battles the Kremlin invasion.
The NASAMS are considered "medium-range" systems, but are considered an improvement over prior missiles sent to Ukraine, which typically had a max range of 30 to 50 miles. The NASAMS are capable of defending against aircraft, cruise missiles, as well as drones and were designed by the US and Norway.
But Zelensky in the CBS interview didn't waist time asking for more, as has been typical, saying that amid his forces achieving success in the ongoing eastern counteroffensive they urgently need more tanks, artillery, and more missiles.
Mon, 09/26/2022 - 22:00