MOSCOW, June 5. /TASS/. All the fuss over additional arms deliveries to Kiev pursues the sole goal of stretching out the armed conflict in Ukraine as long as possible, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday.
"In my view, all this fuss over additional deliveries of armaments generally pursues the sole objective of stretching out the armed conflict as long as possible," Putin said in a fragment of his interview with reporter Pavel Zarubin for the program Moscow. Kremlin. Putin. shown in the Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week) program on the Rossiya-1 TV Channel on Sunday. The head of state thus commented on the deliveries of US rocket systems to Kiev.
The deliveries of US multiple launch rocket systems to Ukraine changes nothing since Kiev previously had an inventory of these armaments, including rockets of this range, and is simply replenishing its stock, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday.
"There is nothing new about that," the head of state said. The Russian leader thus responded to a request to assess the decision on such deliveries. "These are all multiple launch rocket systems and the Ukrainian army operates similar Soviet-and Russia-made Grad, Smerch and Uragan rocket systems," Putin said.
The Russian leader pointed out that the range ‘depended on rockets that are used and not on the system itself." "What we hear today and what we understand, these are rockets that fly to a distance of 45-70 km depending on the rocket type. The same is true about Grad, Uragan and Smerch rocket systems that I spoke about. They also have the range of 40-70 km and there is nothing new about that," the head of state explained.
This is why, these deliveries by the United States and some other countries can only be related to the intention to help Kiev make up for the losses of its combat hardware," Putin said.
The territory of Russia
The Russian leader also commented on Kiev’s alleged assurances for the West that these rocket systems would not be used against the territory of Russia. "This has nothing to do with trust or distrust for the Ukrainian regime because this depends on the types of rockets that the Americans will supply," the head of state said. In total, the combat inventory of the Ukrainian army included about 515 such rocket systems as of the beginning of the special operation in Ukraine and 380 of them were eliminated, Putin specified.
"Now a part of them has been restored and some have been taken from inventories and, as we understand, they currently have about 360 such systems," the Russian president said.
"We believe that the delivery of rocket systems by the United States and some other countries is related to making up for the losses of this combat hardware." There is nothing new about that and this actually changes nothing," the head of state said.
The same is true about Kiev’s requests for the delivery of, say, artillery, Putin pointed out. "Judging by everything, this also relates to making up for the hardware lost and destroyed in combat," the Russian leader said.
Long-range rocket systems
If long-range rockets are supplied to Kiev, Russia will draw conclusions and strike those facilities that currently remain unaffected, Russian President said. "If it now comes to rockets and they are supplied, we will draw conclusions from that and employ our weapons that we have in sufficient quantities to strike those facilities that we are not attacking so far," the head of state warned.
The Russian leader also commented on the deliveries of US multiple launch rocket systems and responded to the reporter’s remark that these systems could also launch long-range rockets.
The handover of these weapons to Kiev changes nothing, Putin emphasized. This relates to multiple launch rocket systems similar to Soviet-and Russia-made Grad, Smerch and Uragan launchers and rockets that fly to a distance of 45-70 km, he explained.
The Ukrainian army already operates such systems and the deliveries of rocket launchers by the United States and some other countries may simply be related to making up for Kiev’s combat hardware lost in battles, the Russian leader explained.
The US administration announced on June 1 that it would provide a new military aid package to Ukraine that would include the delivery of HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) weapons and ammunition. It said that the first batch would include four rocket systems.
US officials earlier said that the strike range of a light HIMARS wheeled rocket launcher would not exceed 80 km. As the US administration insisted, Kiev gave assurances that the US rocket systems would not be used against targets on Russian territory. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on June 2 that Kiev’s assurances to the effect that it would not use US rockets against targets on Russian territory were worthless and could not be trusted.