Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the United States and the west Monday that if they continue giving Ukraine long-range missile systems, it will respond by taking more territory in that country.
"The longer the range of the systems that will be delivered, the further we will move back the Nazis from that line from which threats to Russian speakers and the Russian Federation may come," Reuters reported Lavrov saying during a press conference Monday.
As part of President Joe Biden's $40 billion package to support Ukraine in its defense against invading Russian forces, the latest component of $700 million includes four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, which can hit targets more than 40 miles away, the Department of Defense said in a June 1 report.
"What the HIMARS will allow them to do is to get greater standoff. Right now, the howitzers we provided them have about a 30 km range; the HIMARS have more than twice that, which will allow them — even with fewer systems — greater standoff," said Colin H. Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, during a briefing June 1 at the Pentagon. "These are precision guided systems with extended range. For high value targets, that, that allows them to keep some of the pressure off of Ukrainian forces on the front, [which] we think these systems will be very useful."
In a June 1 statement, Biden called the new package with the HIMARS systems "a significant new security assistance package to provide timely and critical aid to the Ukrainian military."
"This new package will arm them with new capabilities and advanced weaponry, including HIMARS with battlefield munitions, to defend their territory from Russian advances," Biden said. "We will continue to lead the world in providing historic assistance to support Ukraine's fight for freedom."
According to the DOD, the new package also includes "five counter-artillery radar systems; two air-surveillance radars; 1,000 Javelins and 50 command launch units; 6,000 anti-armor weapons; 15,000 155-mm artillery rounds; four Mi-17 helicopters; 15 tactical vehicles; and additional spare parts and equipment."
Russian President Vladimir Putin made a similar threat during a Sunday night television address, the same day as Russia resumed missile attacks on the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, Newsweek reported.
According to the report, Putin said Russia would "draw appropriate conclusions and use our strike means, which we have plenty of, in order to hit the facilities that we haven't struck yet."
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