Moscow announced that it downed for the first time a longer-range rocket that the US has provided to Ukrainian forces.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it downed a Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), a munition made by Boeing that can hit targets up to 94 miles away, nearly twice the range of the missiles Ukraine’s armed forces have been using with the US-provided HIMARS rocket systems.
“In the past 24 hours, air defense capabilities intercepted 18 rockets of the HIMARS multiple launch rocket system and one GLSDB guided munition,” a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.
The US said it would provide Ukraine with the GLSDBs as part of a $2.2 billion weapons package that was announced in early February. The provision of the GLSDB marked a significant escalation of US support for Ukraine as Kyiv can use the bombs to hit targets deep inside Russian-controlled territory.
“This gives them a longer-range capability — long-range fires capability that will enable them, again, to conduct operations in defense of their country and to take back their sovereign territory in Russian-occupied areas,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said last month when announcing the GLSDBs for Ukraine.
Reports at the time said it could take up to nine months to get the GLSDBs in Ukraine’s hands because a ground-launched version of the bomb wasn’t available. But Boeing had been pushing the Biden administration to provide Kyiv with the GLSDBs since last year and said they could be delivered as early as spring of 2023.