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U.S. Congressman Adam Smith Says Long-Range Weapons Key To Ukraine Victory

By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service July 25, 2022

U.S. Representative Adam Smith, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, says Washington hopes to significantly increase the amount of long-range weaponry Ukraine has to defeat Russia and thwart President Vladimir Putin's brutal, unprovoked attack on the country.

Speaking to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Smith (Democrat-Washington) said he aims to get Ukraine as many as 30 multi-rocket launch systems -- Kyiv has requested at least 50 -- as soon as possible "because in this fight, whoever can see far and shoot far is going to be in better shape."

"Putin is trying to expand Russian territory through a brutal, unprovoked attack. It's not because Putin felt threatened. It's because Putin wanted to expand the territory of Russia through brute force," said Smith, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy while on a trip to Kyiv with a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

The United States has already delivered a dozen M142 high-mobility artillery rocket systems, or HIMARS, to Ukraine and recently approved the delivery of four more. Meanwhile, Western allies have delivered a few M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) to Ukraine, as well.

The systems can fire rockets far behind enemy lines with the precision of a few meters, making them highly effective.

Addressing one of Kyiv's longstanding requests, Smith said in the interview, recorded on July 23, that giving Ukraine U.S. fighter jets is not feasible at this point, and that instead the focus "is more on the missile systems, the range, the drones and the electronic warfare aspects of it."

"The HIMARS systems with their range, you know, 30 to 50 kilometers is really helpful. We've seen the impact already just in the last month. But if they had a longer range, it'd be tougher for the Russians to hide their stuff," he said.

Smith said the importance of the war goes far beyond the borders of Ukraine as Russia was breaking one of the central premises of the modern world: "that sovereign borders matter."

"Everybody in the world has a stake in making sure that he [Putin] doesn't succeed. Because if he does, anybody can do it anywhere," Smith said.

"And Putin is not inclined to stop at Ukraine. He has claimed another territory, China has claimed another territory, we need to make it clear that you cannot take other sovereign territory by force. So I think he is a profound threat not just to Ukraine, but to world peace and stability."

With reporting by Taras Levchenko and Kyrylo Lazarevych

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/us-congressman-adam-smith- says-weapons-key-ukraine/31959104.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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