Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western shipments of long-range rockets to Kiev will compel Moscow to hit several targets around Ukraine. In recent days the US announced it would send rockets with a range of 50 miles to Kiev. On Sunday, London announced it would also send long-range M270 rocket launchers to Ukraine.
During an interview with Russian television on Sunday, Putin said, “If it now comes to [long-range] rockets and they are supplied, we will draw conclusions from that and employ our weapons that we have in sufficient quantities to strike those facilities that we are not attacking so far.”
The warning from Putin came the same day that Russia targeted Kiev with strikes for the first time since April. Moscow said it was targeting Western weapon shipments to Ukraine.
Last week, the White House announced that it would send High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, to Ukraine’s armed forces. The launchers have a range of nearly 50 miles. The Biden administration claims it received assurances from Kiev that the weapons would not be used for attacks inside Russia.
The UK declared that it would join the US in sending long-range rocket systems to Kiev, stating it is preparing to supply M270 multiple-launch systems. Rockets fired from the platform have a similar range of about 50 miles.
The M270 is a US-made weapon and required Washington’s approval to transfer to Ukraine. It is unclear if London sought similar guarantees from Kiev that it would not use the weapons to attack Russian territory. In April, a British defense official said UK weapons could be used for strikes within Russia.