The U.S. has agreed to send long-range bombs to Ukraine as Kiev prepares for a spring offensive to retake territory seized by Russia last year. U.S. officials said this, confirming that the new weapons will roughly double the range of offensive weapons that America previously supplied, the Voice of America reports.
The U.S. will supply small-diameter land-based bombs as part of a $2.17 billion aid package expected to be announced Friday, several U.S. officials said.
The package, for the first time, includes equipment to link various air defense systems supplied by Western allies and integrate them into Kyiv's own air defense systems to help Ukraine better defend itself against ongoing Russian missile attacks.
For months, U.S. authorities have been hesitant to send long-range weapons systems to Ukraine for fear they would be used on targets inside Russia, escalating the conflict and dragging the United States further into it.
Long-range bombs are another advanced weapons system, after Abrams tanks and Patriot anti-missile systems, that the U.S. finally agreed to provide to Ukraine after initially refusing. At the same time, U.S. officials continue to deny Ukraine's requests for fighter jets.
According to officials, the U.S. will send an unspecified number of small-diameter bombs with a range of 150 kilometers.
To date, the range of missiles supplied by the U.S. does not exceed 80 kilometers. Funding in the new aid package is for long-term purchases, so it is not yet clear how long it will be before the bombs end up on the battlefield in Ukraine.