Adam Smith, head of House Armed Services Committee (Hawk), believes Kiev must have longer-range weaponry in order to prevent it becoming too late.
Ukraine might only have a few weeks left if it hopes to take back territories controlled by Russia, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith told Politico’s National Security Daily on Monday. He stated that the Ukrainian army would need long-range weapons, such as tactical missiles and strike helicopters, to alter the course of the battle. This was in response to his recent visit to Kiev.
The coming winter will turn the current conflict between Moscow and Kiev to a war by attrition, according to the news outlet. Kiev asked the American congressional delegation for help to convince Washington to send urgent aid.
“Help them now as much as possible. The next three to six weeks are crucial,”Smith, a Democratic representative from Washington (Dem.) spoke to the outlet. The congressman stated that while the Ukrainian government would be open to reaching a peace deal with Moscow, it wants to retain its territories, in particular those of the south.
Russian troops have seized control over Ukraine’s southern Kherson region and most of the neighboring Zaporozhye Region soon after the start of the military operation in February. Officials in both regions are considering holding referendums about joining Russia.
Kiev stated repeatedly that it wants to seize all of its territory. Earlier in July, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that his nation’s goal in the conflict was to “restore our territorial integrity, and full sovereignty in the east and south of Ukraine.”
This isn’t the first time Kiev indicated its desire to end the conflict before the cold weather sets in. According to Reuters, Vladimir Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, told the G7 Summit in June that he would like to see the conflict cease by winter.
Smith is of the opinion that heavier weapons would be required by Ukrainian forces to reach this goal. “The HIMARS systems with their range … [of]Aiming to travel 30-50 km per day is excellent. We’ve seen the impact already just in the last month. But if they had a longer range, it’d be tougher for the Russians to hide their stuff,”Smith spoke to RFE/RL Saturday, while still in Kiev.
Washington provided Kiev 12 HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems. According to the Pentagon, Ukraine will soon get four additional HIMARS multiple-launch rocket systems. That would make their total combatant number to 16.
Smith seems to believe that this is insufficient. He told RFE/RL that he wanted to ship as many 30 systems as possible to Ukraine. Kiev had previously asked for at least 50 HIMARS multi-purpose rocket launchers. Other weapons on the congressman’s possible supply list are “drones and the electronic warfare” systems.
However, the House Armed Services Committee’s head acknowledged that it was impossible to provide Ukraine with American fighter planes at this time. Washington has given Ukraine $8.2billion in assistance since the Russian military operation began. But, Washington is avoiding supplying Kiev some of its longer-range weapons. For example, the Army Tactical Missile Systems(ATACMS) has a range that extends to 300km and MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones.
Joe Biden’s administration is worried about an escalation in the conflict, if Ukrainian forces acquire weapons that can hit Russian territory. Smith believes Washington may change its mind, however.
“The administration is not prepared to do that at this point, but there are good arguments being made. That could change at some point,”He spoke out to Politico. Mike Waltz (Republican from FL) went even further, suggesting that the United States send military advisers in order to assist Kiev with logistics and planning.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. These protocols were originally signed by France and Germany through intermediaries. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
The Kremlin recognised the Donbass republics in February 2022 as independent states. It demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and not join any Western military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian offensive wasn’t provoked.