A military victory against Russia is “unlikely” if the United States holds back supplies of long-range artillery, a senior Ukrainian official tells CNN.
Alexey Arestovych, a Ukrainian presidential advisor, told CNN the weapons are “essential for fate of Ukraine and its independence.”
US officials said last week they are considering a Ukrainian request for deliveries of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, MLRS, which can strike targets as far as 300 kilometers, or about 186 miles, depending on the type of munition.
Arestovych told CNN that even a small number of the weapons systems — as few as 20 — would be a “game-changer” in the conflict with Russia, as he said it would enable Ukrainian troops to defend themselves against long-range Russian attacks.
“Without MLRS, we would probably be able to stabilize the frontlines,” Arestovych said.
“But we would be looking at losing Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and parts of the Zaporizhzhia region,” he told CNN.
But arming Ukraine with long-range rockets has raised concerns in the West that the MLRSs could be used to attack targets inside Russia, possibly escalating the conflict.
Acknowledging those concerns, Arestovych told CNN that Ukraine would only use the weapons to defend their territory, not to attack Russia.