Reed, after a recent visit to Ukraine, calls for the US to supply longer-range missiles

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy greets US Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, during Reed’s recent visit to Kyiv.

Sen. Jack Reed is calling for the Biden administration to equip Ukraine with a longer-range tactical missile system and also expressing support for a new wave of attacks on Russian forces.

In interviews with USA Today on Wednesday and The Providence Journal on Thursday, Reed publicly called on the administration to send the longer-range missiles to Ukraine.

Such missiles would give Ukraine additional capability “to keep up the momentum and then attack successfully as soon as possible,” said Reed, Rhode Island’s senior senator.

His comments on the missiles’ importance follow his visit last week with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

They also follow November’s election, which left the Democrats in control of the US Senate. Reed remains chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He said Wednesday that he understands, based on his recent discussions with Zelenskyy and Ukrainian military officials, that Ukraine needs the longer-range missiles to continue targeting Russian forces’ logistics and command posts and to keep its forward momentum “and hopefully in the spring start.” conducting extensive offensive operations.”

“I’ve been very conscious of their requests (for the missiles),” Reed said. “They’ve been asking for them.”

Many of Ukraine’s gains last year were aided by missiles from the shorter-range Guided Multiple Rocket Launch System, he said. The GMRLS missiles have a range of roughly 60 miles, Reed said.

Lately, he said, invading forces sent to Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin have made adjustments.

Russian commanders are trying to keep themselves and their depots beyond the range of the GMRLS missiles, Reed said.

For this reason, Reed sees a role for the Army Tactical Missile System, whose missiles have a range of roughly 100 miles, he said.

“So if you disrupt their command and slow up their supplies, you have a much more effective opportunity to attack, succeed and continue to attack,” Reed said.

Both GMRLS and ATACMS missiles are fired from the same launcher, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.

Reed said he has discussed the missile-range issue with Zelenskyy and also with members of the Ukrainian military.

He emphasizes the importance of being confident that Ukraine would fire the longer-range tactical missiles only at targets within its territory and not into Russia.

“There’s always the possibility of escalation,” Reed said. “And we’ve been very conscious of that. It’s one of those things where that might be so overt that the Russians, or rather Putin, would feel that he had to do something, which could lead to escalation….”

The Biden administration has not yet announced any decision on Ukraine’s request for the longer-range missiles.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Sen. Jack Reed wants to arm Ukraine with longer-range missiles

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