Biden rules out sending rocket systems 'that can strike into Russia' to Ukraine

It was unclear if US president Joe Biden was referring to the MLRS or HIMARS systems, both of which were being considered. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States will not send Ukraine rocket systems that can reach into Russia, President Joe Biden said on Monday (May 30).

The comments followed reports that the Biden administration was preparing to send advanced long-range rocket systems to Kyiv for its fight against Russia.

"We're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems" that can reach into Russia, Biden told reporters after arriving back at the White House after a weekend in Delaware.

Ukrainian officials have sought a longer-range system called the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, that can fire a barrage of rockets hundreds of miles away.

Responding to the news, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Washington's decision on the rocket systems was "rational".

CNN and The Washington Post reported on Friday the Biden administration was leaning towards sending that and another system, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS, as part of a larger military aid package to Ukraine. It was not clear which system Biden was referring to in his remarks.

The Ukrainian government has urged the West to provide it with more longer-range weapons in order to turn the tide in the war, now in its fourth month.

US officials have said such weapons systems are actively being considered.

Thousands of people have been killed in Ukraine and millions more displaced since the Russian invasion on Feb 24.

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