Home » today » Sport » Russia: Warns of expanding ‘neutral zone’ in Ukraine after missile supply – 2024-04-25 11:29:27

Russia: Warns of expanding ‘neutral zone’ in Ukraine after missile supply – 2024-04-25 11:29:27

THE Russia will need to push Ukrainian forces further in and expand what it calls a “neutral zone” if the Kyiv received advanced ATACM longer-range guided missile systems from the United States, the Kremlin said today.

Last October, White House said it supplied Kiev with a type of ATACM missile capable of hitting targets up to 165 kilometers away. But a new package now being prepared following the approval of a bill by Congress is expected to include a type of missile with a longer range, 300 km.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that Kiev will receive long-range ATACM missiles and thanked Washington.

This raises the prospect that Ukraine could use these missiles to strike targets deeper into territory controlled by Russian forces, particularly in Russian-annexed Crimea.

The ATACM (Army Tactical Missile Systems) are mounted on trucks and can fly at a speed of Mach three, significantly faster than the British and French cruise missiles currently in Ukraine’s arsenal.

Responding today to a related question, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia’s position on the issue, which it has stated several times, has not changed.

“Nothing changes in that regard,” Peskov said.

The Kremlin said last month that the only way to protect Russian territory from Ukrainian attacks – which it says includes four areas that Moscow annexed from Ukraine – was to have a “neutral zone” so that Ukrainian fire would do not reach Russian territory.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last year that Russian forces would respond to the delivery of longer-range Western weapons to Kiev by trying to push Ukrainian forces further across the border.

The US arms handover, which is not likely to be announced when it happens, may stipulate that Ukraine cannot use ATACM missiles to strike targets inside Russia itself.

Two US officials told Reuters yesterday, Tuesday, that the US is preparing a $1 billion military aid package for Ukraine, the first included in the yet-to-be-signed Ukraine bill.

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