According to U.S. officials, Washington is working to provide Ukrainian forces with advanced anti-ship missiles (AShM) to assist fight off Moscow’s naval blockade amid apprehensions that high-end weapons that could sink Russian combatant ships would escalate the fight.
According to the media reports, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy has asked that Kyiv forces want more advanced and high-end American weapons and capabilities beyond its existing stock of weapons, Javelin Weapon System, hand-held Stinger anti-aircraft missiles – operated by nineteen countries, according to Raytheon Technologies Corp. – and other military equipment. Zelenskyy’s list includes guided airborne ranged weapons that could push the naval arm of the Russian military away from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, permitting the resumption of deliveries of grain and other agricultural products globally.
Jason Crow, Congressman for Colorado’s 6th District, has also noted that the Ukrainian President has requested more sophisticated intelligence drones and unmanned aerial systems (UASs) that could be utilized in fighting off Russian violence.
In addition, Congressional sources and the former and current American officials have alluded to barriers to transferring long-range weapons to Kyiv that include challenges in maintaining equipment, extensive military education and training requirements, or apprehensions that Moscow troops could seize American arms.
Congress Passed $40B Ukraine Aid Bill
But two congressional sources and three American officials said two types of powerful anti-ship missiles, the McDonnell Douglas-made Harpoon and the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), an antiship, land attack missile manufactured by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Raytheon, were in active consideration for either transference through a Western ally or direct delivery to Ukraine.
Furthermore, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso from Wyoming and Representative Jason Crow from Colorado both met with the President of Ukraine on separate visits and subsequently told the media that he now seeks out longer-range rocket artillery, more advanced drones, and anti-ship systems for his forces.
Last month, Kyiv requested Harpoons from Portugal, a southern European state on the Iberian Peninsula bordering Spain. And that has a range of up to 186 miles (300 kms). The U.S. officials and the congressional sources said that a few countries would be ready to deliver Harpoon missiles to the Ukrainian forces. But, according to the third American official, no single government wants to be the first or the only country to do so, worrying retaliation from Moscow troops if a ship is sunk with a Harpoon missile from their stock.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, expressed gratitude to the U.S. for the forty billion dollars assistance package, which got final Congressional approval on May 19. The measure, approved on May 10 by the U.S. House, overwhelmingly passed 86/11 in the upper chamber on Thursday. Now the bill moves to President Biden’s desk for his signature.
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