Peace advocates are warning that the Biden administration’s newly unveiled decision to arm Ukraine with advanced missile systems further heightens the risk of a direct military conflict between the U.S. and Russia, which accused the White House of “adding fuel to the fire deliberately” as Moscow’s deadly invasion of its neighbor rages on.
“The slippery slope leading to a direct U.S. confrontation with Russia just got a lot steeper,” Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the progressive anti-war group CodePink, wrote in response to the Biden administration’s move, which was followed by news that Russian forces are holding nuclear drills northeast of Moscow on Wednesday. “The U.S. and U.K. governments show no efforts or desire to achieve peaceful settlement of the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”
The U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, also known as HIMARS, will give Ukraine the capability to strike Russian targets roughly 50 miles away with powerful, satellite-guided missiles. The rocket system, the most advanced weaponry the U.S. has sent to Ukraine to date, is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest military contractor.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Pentagon has spent around $5.4 billion to buy more than 42,000 HIMARS rockets since 1998.