Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 5 warned that Russia would strike new targets if the United States were to supply longer-range missiles to Ukraine.
Giving new weapons to Kyiv only aims to “drag out the armed conflict for as long as possible,” Putin told state-run media, adding that after longer-range missiles are sent to Ukraine, Moscow will draw the "appropriate conclusions" and strike facilities it hasn't targeted.
Several days ago, President Joe Biden confirmed that the United States would send more advanced rocket systems to Ukraine after Kyiv's request.
"We will continue to lead the world in providing historic assistance to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom." HIMARS refers to High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems produced in the United States that can hit targets up to 300 miles away, depending on the type of rocket.
Ukraine has been seeking multiple launch rocket systems such as the M270 and M142 HIMARS to strike troops and weapons stockpiles at the Russian forces' rear.
On June 5, meanwhile, Russian forces struck Kyiv, the capital, for the first time in several weeks, while Ukrainian officials said a counterattack on the main battlefield in the east had retaken half the city of Sievierodonetsk.
Ukraine said Russia had carried out the strike using long-range air-launched missiles fired from heavy bombers as far away as the Caspian Sea, a weapon far more valuable than the tanks Russia has claimed to have hit.
"The Kremlin resorts to new insidious attacks. Today’s missile strikes at Kyiv have only one goal—kill as many as possible," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said on Twitter.
During the same interview released over the weekend, Putin also said that Russian anti-aircraft troops had taken down numerous Ukrainian weapons and were "cracking them like nuts."
Underscoring the number of weapons being supplied to Ukraine, Spain's government authorized sending anti-aircraft missiles to Kyiv, government officials told the El Pais newspaper on June 5. Spain would also provide training in how to use the new weapons, according to those officials, who said that would take place in Latvia.