US sending advanced missile system to Ukraine

NASAMS is the same system used by the U.S. to protect the sensitive airspace around the White House and U.S. Capitol.

By Associated Press

The Group of Seven economic powers are set to commit themselves to supporting Ukraine in the long haul, with the U.S. preparing to announce the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Kyiv, as leaders meet in the German Alps and confer by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The meeting comes amid the backdrop of renewed Russian missile strikes on Kyiv for the first time in weeks.

President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G-7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to.” Britain’s Boris Johnson warned the leaders not to give in to “fatigue.”

On Monday, they have the opportunity to demonstrate that unity to Zelensky and reaffirm their commitment to supporting Kyiv financially and otherwise.

Biden is set to announce that the U.S. is providing an advanced surface-to-air missile system to Ukraine, as well as additional artillery support, according to a person familiar with the matter, in the latest assistance meant to help the country defend against Russia’s bloody invasion.

The U.S. is purchasing NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system, to provide medium- to long-range defense, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. NASAMS is the same system used by the U.S. to protect the sensitive airspace around the White House and U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Additional aid includes more ammunition for Ukrainian artillery, as well as counter-battery radars, to support its efforts against the Russian assault in the Donbas, the person said.

Biden hopes to use his trip to Europe to proclaim the unity of the coalition pressing to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as much as he is urging allies to do even more — seeking to counter doubts about its endurance as the war grinds into its fifth month.

The G-7 already is committed to help finance Ukraine’s immediate needs. Finance ministers from the group last month agreed to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to help Kyiv keep basic services functioning and prevent tight finances from hindering its defense against Russian forces.

Russian strikes on Kyiv

Russia shattered weeks of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital with long-range missiles fired toward Kyiv early Sunday, an apparent Kremlin show-of-force.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the missiles hit at least two residential buildings, and President Volodymr Zelenskyy said a 37-year-old man was killed and his 7-year-old daughter and wife injured. Associated Press journalists saw emergency workers battling flames and rescuing civilians.

The strikes also damaged a nearby kindergarten, where a crater pocked the courtyard. U.S. President Joe Biden called the attacks “barbarism” after he arrived in Germany for a Group of Seven summit.

Later Sunday, a local official reported a second death, telling the Unian news agency that a railroad worker was killed and several others were injured in the attacks while servicing rail infrastructure.

Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said the first air-launched weapons successfully to target the capital since June 5 were Kh-101 cruise missiles fired from warplanes over the Caspian Sea, more than 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) away.

A Ukrainian parliament member, Oleksiy Goncharenko, wrote on the Telegram messaging app that preliminary information indicated that Russia launched 14 missiles toward the capital region and Kyiv itself.