May 21, 2022 06:03 UTC
  • Report: US aims to arm Ukraine with advanced anti-ship missiles

The Biden administration is working to deliver anti-ship missiles to Ukrainian fighters to help defeat Russia's naval blockade, a move that could increase the chances of a confrontation between the United States and Russia.

Ukraine has asked for more advanced US weapons beyond its current inventory of artillery, Javelin and Stinger missiles, and other arms, according to Reuters.

The Kiev government seeks missiles that could push the Russian navy away from its Black Sea ports, allowing the restart of shipments of grain and other agricultural products worldwide.

However, current and former American officials and congressional said there are concerns that these powerful weapons could sink Russian warships and intensify the conflict.

They have pointed out obstructions to sending longer-range, more powerful weapons to Ukraine that include lengthy training requirements, difficulties maintaining equipment, or concerns US weaponry could be seized by Russian forces,  Reuters reported.

However, three US officials and two congressional sources said that the US could deliver two types of powerful anti-ship missiles, the Harpoon made by Boeing (BA.N) and the Naval Strike Missile made by Kongsberg (KOG.OL) and Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) to Ukraine. Or Washington could send them through a transfer from a European ally that has the missiles.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in April requested Portugal to deliver the Ukrainian military Harpoons, which have a range of up to almost 300 km.

Two US officials said the United States was working on potential methods to deliver the weapons to Ukraine. Both missiles cost about $1.5 million per round, according to experts and industry executives.