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Blinken explains US stance on long-range missiles for Ukraine

Washington’s top diplomat claimed the US instead provides other things “uniquely to Ukraine”

Washington is reluctant to follow Britain’s example and deliver longer-range missiles to Ukraine in part due to concerns over training and maintenance, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday. His statement came after the UK confirmed that it was supplying Kiev with Storm Shadow cruise missiles that can hit targets over 250 kilometers (155 miles) away. 

“Different countries will do different things, depending on their own capacities,” Blinken told PBS NewsHour, adding that the US had “provided some things uniquely to Ukraine through this process.”

He suggested, however, that Washington needs to be sure that Ukrainians are well-trained and qualified to handle more sophisticated weapons systems. “If they don’t know how to use it, it’s not going to do much good,” Blinked argued. “If they don’t know how to maintain it, you give it to them, it falls apart in seven days.”


In March, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said that the US were not sending ATACMS missiles with a range of up to 190 miles (305km) to Ukraine because the move would dwindle the Pentagon’s own stocks. 

At the same time, Blinken assured that the US and its allies were “working literally every single day” with Kiev. “If there are gaps, if there are shortages, they will tell us, and we will make every effort to make good on them,” he added. 

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FILE PHOTO: British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace visits a military base in Dorset to see Ukrainian soldiers train.
UK confirms long-range missile delivery to Ukraine

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace stated on Thursday that Storm Shadow missiles would “allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces based on Ukrainian sovereign territory.”


Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that the success of the planned counteroffensive against Russian troops would greatly depend on the deliveries of heavy weapons. President Vladimir Zelensky’s top adviser, Mikhail Podoliak, said this week that longer-range missiles could be used to strike Russia’s Crimea, which Kiev considers an illegally occupied territory. The peninsula voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia in the wake of the 2014 coup in Kiev.  

Russia has warned that weapons deliveries were making NATO members de facto direct participants in the conflict. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peksov said on Thursday that his country’s military would find “an appropriate answer” to Storm Shadow missiles. 

May 12, 2023 at 09:06AM


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