US Army General Urges Washington to Give Kiev Weapons to Strike Deep Into Russian Territory
13:45 GMT 31.08.2022 (Updated: 20:56 GMT 19.10.2022)
© SputnikParts of Ukraine's 'Tochka-U' missile shot down outside Berdyansk, March 2022.
The United States and its allies have committed tens of billions of dollars’ worth of military and economic support to Kiev in recent months, with US President Joe Biden announcing an additional $3 billion weapons injection last week. Moscow has warned that the weapons aid threatens to escalate the crisis.
A US Army general has called on Washington and its allies to send longer-range strike systems to Kiev to allow the Ukrainian military to strike deep into the Russian hinterland.
“The USA and NATO say ‘do not strike on the territory of Russia,’ but this is nonsense,” Brig. Gen. (ret.) Mark Arnold told Ukraine’s Channel 24 on Tuesday.
“The beginning of the end of the Russian Army in Ukraine is the destruction of the supply line of fuel, ammunition and equipment. This must be done both on the borders and hundreds of kilometers deep into Russia. In order to do this, NATO needs to change its policy, and abandon the theses about the prohibition of strikes on Russian territories. It is necessary to give Ukraine such weapons that could crush the Russians…” Arnold urged.
The brigadier general called on the Pentagon to transfer Patriot missile systems to Ukraine, as well as longer-range munitions for the HIMARS mobile rocket artillery which has already been sent to the country, plus advanced aircraft and combat drones.
The hawkish commander, who served 37 years in the Army and Green Berets, and carried out several tours of duty in US wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, raised eyebrows last month after penning an op-ed in The Columbus Dispatch in which he called on NATO to get directly involved in the Ukraine crisis.
“To those who think Western conventional military intervention may result in nuclear war, I argue that the West cannot afford to allow aggressive nuclear powers to threaten Armageddon and leave the burden of restraint on Western shoulders…The danger of nuclear escalation can only be countered by credible deterrence and conventional action against aggression,” Arnold wrote.
The general spelled out a scenario for Western intervention, suggesting that if Russia were to veto a US-proposed no-fly zone mission at the United Nations, Washington and NATO could act unilaterally and deploy warplanes in Ukraine, as well as Donbass and Russia’s Crimea.
26 August 2022, 11:35 GMT
Russia has repeatedly warned the Western alliance against direct intervention in the Ukraine conflict, with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’ remarks in late February about the bloc’s possible involvement prompting Moscow to place its strategic nuclear deterrent on alert.
Russian officials have also called on Washington and its allies to stop deliveries of weapons systems to Kiev, pointing to the threat they pose in escalating the crisis, and the danger of weapons smugglers shipping the arms out of the country and creating new crises in other regions.
Earlier this month, a Sputnik Arabic investigation uncovered a Ukrainian arms smuggling operation on the dark web, with an arms dealer expressing willingness to ship American-made M4 assault rifles to Yemen via intermediaries in Poland and Portugal. Also in August, CBS News published and then deleted a documentary revealing that only “30 percent” of the West’s military support for Ukraine was actually reaching the front lines.
24 August 2022, 07:09 GMT
The HIMARS is the most advanced ground-based weapons system that the US has sent to Ukraine to date. HIMARS is a mobile light multiple rocket launcher mounted on a truck frame which can fire six 227 mm rockets up to 92 km. US officials have told media that HIMARS has given the Ukrainian military the tools to engage in precision strikes against high-value Russian targets. However, Russia and its Donbass allies have accused Ukraine of using the weapon to indiscriminately shell civilians in cities in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as areas near the massive nuclear power plant in the Zaporozhye region.
The US has delivered 16 HIMARS to Ukraine to date, with the Russian Defense Ministry reporting that at least three of the systems had been knocked out by mid-July. On Tuesday, US media reported that Ukraine had resorted to using HIMARS dummies to try to lure Russia into using cruise missiles to target them.