Biden admin to send Multiple Launch Rocket Systems to Ukraine in $40B aid package

President Biden previously said the US would not send longer-range missiles to Ukraine

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The Biden administration is expected this week to approve sending shorter-range rocket missiles to Ukraine as part of the $40 billion aid package for the besieged country. 

The Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), known as HIMARS (High Mobility Rockets System), have a range of 83 to 185 miles based on the kind of artillery rockets and mobile platform being used. There are also wheeled versions of the MLRS that fire 6 missiles and there are tracked vehicles that fire 12 missiles. 

A destroyed car lies next to an apartment building damaged by an overnight missile strike in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

A destroyed car lies next to an apartment building damaged by an overnight missile strike in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)

MLRS had reportedly been a top request from Ukrainian officials, who say they need it to stop the advance of Russian forces in the east, which has taken control of the key city of Lyman last week. 

The approval comes after President Biden said Monday the U.S. would not send rocket systems to Ukraine that could potentially reach into Russia, though he was referring to longer-range ATACMS missiles, which have a range of 185 miles.   

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The Pentagon reportedly plans to send the shorter-range missiles, but these are still longer than what the Ukrainians are currently using to fend off Russia’s military. The new HIMARS, expected to be announced tomorrow, fires at a range of about twice that of the current M777 Howitzer. 

Ukrainian soldiers are seen riding on an armored personnel carrier during an exercise not far from Kharkiv on April 30.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen riding on an armored personnel carrier during an exercise not far from Kharkiv on April 30. (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

Biden has ruled out sending longer-range missiles for fear of escalating the war in Ukraine and dragging in the U.S. military should Ukrainian troops strike inside Russia. 

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U.S. lawmakers passed a nearly $40 billion bill earlier this month that will aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia. The aid package includes military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. 

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.