The Russian government slammed the Biden administration’s decision to include medium-range rocket systems in the United States’ most recent weapons package sent to Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that the administration’s decision is “deliberately and diligently pouring fuel on the fire,” The Associated Press reported.
A senior administration official said the United States was comfortable giving Ukraine the rocket systems after being assured that the Ukrainian government would use it only to counter Russian systems, not attack Russian territory.
Peskov said the Kremlin does not trust Ukraine’s assurances that it would not use the systems to attack Russia, according to AP.
“In order to trust [someone], you need to have experience with situations when such promises were kept,” Peskov said. “Regretfully, there is no such experience whatsoever.”
The U.S. is sending Ukraine High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and munitions that would allow Ukrainian forces to more precisely strike targets from a greater distance inside Ukraine. The systems can hit targets nearly 50 miles away.
Multiple news outlets had reported that the Biden administration was planning to send Ukraine a different missile system that could reach targets up to 300 kilometers away, but Biden ruled out providing Ukraine with that system on Monday.
Biden announced his administration’s decision on the rockets in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday. He also said the United States is not trying to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He said the country’s goal is to ensure a “democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine.”
The package the administration is sending will also include Javelin anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radars and tactical vehicles.
The U.S. decision comes as Russia has been tightening its grip on the easternmost areas of Ukraine, specifically in the Donbas region. Russian forces have concentrated on the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk as the last remaining Ukrainian strongholds in the Luhansk province.