Ukraine is looking to obtain long-range missiles


Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Saturday that urgent talks were under way between Kyiv and its allies over Ukraine’s requests for long-range missiles it says are needed to stop Russia destroying Ukrainian cities.

Ukraine has been promised battle tanks from Western countries and is also demanding fighter jets to retaliate against Russian and pro-Moscow forces advancing slowly along part of the front line.

“In order to significantly reduce (the effect of) the main weapon of the Russian army, which is the artillery it uses today on the front, we need missiles that destroy their depots,” Podolyak told Ukrainian TV network Freedom.

He said that in the Russian-occupied Crimea there are more than 100 artillery depots.

“Therefore, negotiations first are already underway, without elaborating… Secondly, it is moving at an accelerated pace” he added.

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in separate statements that Ukraine wanted to pre-empt Russian attacks on Ukrainian urban areas and civilians.

“Ukraine needs long-range missiles to deny the occupier the opportunity to place missile launchers somewhere far from the front line and destroy Ukrainian cities,” he added in his videotaped evening speech.

Zelensky said Ukraine needed the US-made ATACMS missile, which has a range of 297 km.

Washington has so far refrained from providing this weapon.

Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian Air Force on Saturday denied a press report that it intended to acquire 24 combat aircraft from allied countries, saying that talks about possible deliveries are still ongoing.

The Spanish El Pais newspaper quoted Air Force spokesman Yuri Ihnat as saying that Ukraine is initially seeking two squadrons consisting of 12 aircraft each, and that it would prefer the aircraft to be Boeing F-16s.

“Ukraine is still at the stage of negotiations over the aircraft, and their models and number are being determined,” Ihnat said.

Ihnat had mentioned during his press briefing yesterday that the F-16 might be the perfect choice as a multi-role fighter to replace the country’s current fleet of aging Soviet-era warplanes.

John Weiner, the White House deputy national security adviser, said Thursday that the United States would very carefully consider the idea of ​​supplying the planes with Kyiv and its allies.

A few days ago, the German Defense Minister ruled out the idea of ​​sending planes to Ukraine.

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