Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the head of the House Armed Services Committee, slammed the Biden administration’s Ukraine military aid policy, calling it “too cautious,” and called for the US to send more long-range artillery and drones.
“Ukraine borders Russia, if you give them a mortar shell that can go a mile, theoretically it can strike Russia,” Smith said. “The point of giving them the weapons is not to be able to strike into Russia, the point is to be able to hit the Russians who are in Ukraine from a longer, safer distance.”
While President Biden has shipped billions in military aid to Ukraine, there was some hesitancy over sending longer-range weapons over the fear of Ukrainian forces using them to hit targets in Russian territory. But the US ended up sending rocket systems with a 50-mile range and is considering selling Kyiv MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with hellfire missiles.
But these steps aren’t enough for Smith, who is frustrated that talks to sell the MQ-1 are being dragged out and wants the US to supply Ukraine with munitions that give the rocket systems a greater range than 50 miles.
Smith said most members of the House Armed Services Committee agreed the US should be more “aggressive” about what it gives Ukraine. Russian officials have repeatedly warned of serious consequences if Ukraine uses Western-provided arms to strike its territory. But the risk of provoking Moscow doesn’t appear to concern Smith or other hawks in Washington despite the fact that a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia could quickly spiral into nuclear war.