The United States will deliver missiles to Ukraine with a longer range than those sent so far. The new long-range weapons, the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB), can hit targets up to 150 kilometers away. That is almost twice the range of the previously sent Himars missiles.
The GPS-guided missile that can hit targets to within one metre. The missile can be fired from the Himars launchers that Ukraine already has. It will be the first time the GLSDB will be used during a war.
The weapons are part of a new weapons package, which the US Department of Defense announced on Friday. The package has a value of 2.2 billion dollars (more than 2 billion euros). Military support also includes precision-guided missiles and two Hawk-type anti-aircraft systems.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called again for long-range weapons at an EU summit in Kyiv on Friday. The army would need it for the defense of Bakhmut, which the Russians are trying to encircle. For the president, losing the besieged city in the Donets Basin is not an option. “Nobody will give away Bakhmut. We see the city as our fortress.”
Zelenksy also thinks he can recapture the rest of the Donetsk basin region with the long-range missiles. Russia occupies large parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
France and Italy supply air defense system
France and Italy will jointly deliver an air defense system to Ukraine in the spring. “This will allow Ukraine to defend itself against Russian drones, missiles and aircraft attacks,” said French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu after a telephone conversation with his Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto.
The so-called Mamba system can track dozens of targets and intercept ten at a time. It is the only European-made system capable of taking ballistic missiles out of the sky. The Ukrainian Defense Minister had specifically requested this mobile surface-to-air missile system to protect the civilian population and infrastructure.
Zelensky wants the Ukrainian army to keep trying to push back the Russians, but until the new Western weapons arrive, they will have to hold their own.