Live updates: Britain offers long-range weapons in Ukraine, while Russian artillery hammers east

The British military announced on Monday that it would send its most sophisticated multi-launch rocket system to Ukraine, joining the United States to provide the long-range artillery needed at a time when Russia is using its extensive weapons to hit the positions of Ukraine across the country. eastern front.

The announcement came days after the Biden administration said it would provide Ukraine with its most advanced multi-launch rocket system and ammunition in hopes of giving the country an advantage over Russia.

“As Russia’s tactics change, so must our support for Ukraine,” said British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior Ukrainian officials have been calling for these weapons for months, but it could be weeks before they have an impact on the battlefield. Ukrainian soldiers must be trained to use the systems, which are much more advanced than anything currently in the Kyiv arsenal.

The use of overwhelming and often indiscriminate force has allowed the Russians to make limited gains in eastern Ukraine. Moscow forces on Monday hit targets across the 75-mile eastern front line, according to the Ukrainian military.

For the time being, Russian artillery can go beyond the weapons at the disposal of the Ukrainians, allowing Russian forces to rain rounds day and night, without the Ukrainians being able to counterattack effectively. The bombings have taken a heavy toll on the Ukrainian army: the Ukrainian government has said up to 100 soldiers are killed every day.

Decisions by the United States and Britain mark the latest escalation of a steadily rising arms flow from the West to Ukraine since the large-scale invasion of Russia in late February.

The United States began sending heavy artillery to Ukraine in April. On May 26, a senior U.S. Department of Defense official said he had delivered 85 M777 shells to Ukraine, as well as 190,000 projectiles for use in these weapons systems.

The multi-rocket launch systems provided by the United States and Britain offer Ukraine the opportunity to attack Russian targets from a much greater distance and more accurately.

The U.S. High Mobility Artillery System, or HIMARS, can hit targets nearly 50 miles away and is capable of firing satellite-guided rockets that carry approximately the same explosive power as a 500-pound bomb. free launched from the air. .

The British M270 multi-launch rocket system offers similar capabilities, Wallace said, adding that “it will allow our Ukrainian friends to better protect themselves against the brutal use of long-range artillery, which Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to flatten cities “. ”

Before supplying weapons, the Ukrainians promised the United States that they would not use long-range rockets to pursue targets inside Russia. The BBC reported that the British government received similar guarantees.

In a statement issued by Russian state media on Sunday, Mr. Putin dismissed US weapons, saying they were “nothing new”, but at the same time warned that if Russia felt threatened, it would “attack those facilities that we are not. Attacking so far”.

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