Western allies pledge precision rockets, missile systems to Kiev
The European Union agreed to introduce price caps on Russian petroleum products to try to further limit Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war chest by targeting his key exports.
The announcements came shortly after Zelensky told a summit with EU leaders in Kiev: “No one will surrender Bakhmut. We will fight as long as we can.
“If weapon (deliveries) are accelerated — namely long-range weapons — we will not only not withdraw from Bakhmut, we will begin to de-occupy Donbas,” he said of the eastern region of Ukraine.
The United States on Friday announced a new $2.2-billion package of arms and munitions, which the Pentagon said included a new rocket-propelled precision bomb that could nearly double Kiev’s strike range against Russian forces.
The ground-launched small-diameter bombs (GLSDB), which can fly up to 150 kilometres (93 miles), could threaten key Russian supply lines, arms depots and air bases far behind the front lines.
They potentially give Kiev’s forces the ability to strike anywhere in the Russian-occupied Donbas, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, as well as the northern part of occupied Crimea.
However, “the delivery of the GLSDB likely won’t be for several months due to contracting, production, and delivery timelines”, said Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Garron Garn, declining to say how many would be delivered.
France and Italy will deliver mobile surface-to-air missile systems, the French defence ministry said, in response to an urgent request from Kiev to help protect “civilian populations and infrastructure from Russian air attacks”.
The systems, called MAMBA or SAMP, are a vehicle-mounted battery of medium-range missiles designed to offer protection from airborne threats such as missiles and manned or unmanned aircraft.
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who had requested the weapons, tweeted his gratitude, saying the systems would “help us save thousands of lives” from Russian attacks.
Kiev is also asking for fighter jets.
It has already secured promises from the West for deliveries of modern battle tanks and, after months of hesitation, Germany authorised the delivery of Leopard 1 tanks.