NBC quoted the US military as saying that President Joe Biden’s administration turned down Ukraine’s request for long-range missiles for fear of a dangerous Russian response.
Military officials said senior Pentagon officials opposed the idea.
Defense Department officials who have advised against supplying Ukraine with long-range missiles known as Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACM) have raised concerns that the missiles could be used against targets inside Russia, potentially sparking a wider war with Russia.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned the US against providing such weapons to Ukraine, calling it a “red line.”
“If Washington decides to supply Kyiv with long-range missiles, it will cross the red line and become a direct party to the conflict,” Zakharova said.
On Thursday, the Biden administration announced another massive $600 million military aid package to Ukraine, including artillery shells, mines and other highly mobile missile systems. But the aid does not include ATACM equipment, which has a longer range than the artillery and missile systems delivered to Ukraine so far.
On Tuesday, Biden said that Washington would not send missile systems to Ukraine that would reach Russia.