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Washington signaled on Tuesday that it plans to provide Ukraine with a guided rocket system capable of striking targets as far away as 80 kilometers, TURAN's U.S. correspondent reports.

The new system, known as HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems), will be sent to Ukraine as part of Washington's 11th package of security assistance to Ukraine, which will be formally announced today.

The goal in sending the rocket system is to boost Ukrainian forces' firepower against Russian troops who have invaded the country’s eastern region, without enabling Kyiv to expand the war into Russian territory, senior U.S. Administration officials told reporters on a call Tuesday night.

The new package will also include air surveillance radars, additional Javelin anti-tank weapons, anti-armor weapons, artillery rounds, helicopters, tactical vehicles, and spare parts to help the Ukrainians continue maintenance of the equipment, the officials said.

President Joe Biden also said in an op-ed that the U.S.' goal in Ukraine is "to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression."

"That’s why I've decided that we will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine," Biden noted, adding that "we do not seek a war between NATO and Russia."

"As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow... We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia" - Biden explained.

Biden's statement came amid growing questions over the Administration's Ukraine policy.

"Our assistance to Ukraine has been focused in the area of self-defense," State Department's spokesperson Ned Price said in response to TURAN's questions during yesterday's daily press briefing.

"This has been a war of aggression on the part of one country, and that’s Russia. This has been a war of self-defense on the part of our Ukrainian partners."

According to Price, what has always been at stake here is Ukraine’s right to exist.

"We heard a number of arguments that were entirely specious, leading up to Moscow’s February 24th invasion. We heard about purported security concerns; we heard about concerns over what they stated to be NATO’s aggressive nature, claiming a defensive alliance was anything but. In the end, what this came down to was we think President Putin’s belief that Ukraine has no right to exist as a sovereign, independent, democratic, and free country," he said.

"... And so that is what our support, that is what the support of many of the world’s countries, dozens of the world’s countries, has been all about, is making sure that Ukraine will continue to be and to exist and to be precisely what President Putin has sought to deny it, and that is its independence, its sovereignty, its democratic identity, and its prosperity" Price added.

The spokesperson also hailed a European Union decision to scale back Russian oil imports, but said more needs to be done over time to lessen reliance on Russian energy.

"We applaud the steps by our European allies and partners to reduce their reliance on Russian oil and natural gas," Price told TURAN's reporter, adding that there was "broad support" among U.S. allies for "cutting off the strength of Russia's war machine, and that is Russia's energy market."

Price also called the EU's latest ban on Russian oil imports "an important step" in the near-term, reminding that there is also a longer-term path that has "less to do with the day-to-day and more to do with trends over time and the broader need to lessen our reliance on Russian energy and fossil fuels more broadly, and that’s something that a joint US-EU task force is outlining in terms of specific steps."

Alex Raufoglu

Washington D.C.

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