The UK is seeking permission from Washington to send Ukraine US-made M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), Politico reported on Wednesday, as Western military aid to Kyiv continues to escalate.
A source told Politico that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with President Biden about the possible M270 transfer on Wednesday, which will be followed up by a conversation between UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The M270 MLRS has a range of about 50 miles, which means it could be used to target Russian territory. The Biden administration on Wednesday announced it was sending a similar rocket system, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS.
The HIMARS munitions the US is providing Ukraine also have a range of about 50 miles. US officials insisted that they have received “assurances” from Ukrainian officials that they won’t use the weapons to hit targets inside Russia, but sending the rockets is still a major escalation.
Both the HIMARS and MLRS could be equipped with munitions that can hit targets over 150 miles away. For now, the West plans to send shorter-range rockets, but the systems could be outfitted with long-range munitions in the future.
Also on Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Berlin will be sending Ukraine the IRIS-T air defense and radar systems amid criticism that he is not doing enough to arm Kyiv.