Russia Praises Joe Biden for Not Sending Rockets to Help Ukraine—'Rational'

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appeared to praise President Joe Biden's decision not to give long-range rockets to Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

Medvedev, currently deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said that it was "rational" for the U.S. not to provide Ukraine with rockets that can reach inside Russia.

Writing on Telegram, the former president also warned on Monday that if Russian cities had been struck then his country would "have struck at the centers of these criminal decisions."

The Ukrainian government has been urging the U.S. to provide it with long-range missile systems including the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) but Biden ruled out giving the country rockets that could strike inside Russia in remarks at the White House on Monday.

"We're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that strike into Russia," the president said.

However, Biden did not provide any specific information about what weapons might be sent to Ukraine and a new package of military equipment from the U.S. is expected soon.

There are different versions of the MLRS with differing ranges. The system's longest range sees missiles fired up to 185 miles but the system can also use other rockets with shorter ranges of between 20 and 40 miles.

A senior U.S. official said on Monday: "MLRS is under consideration, but nothing is on the table with long-range strike capabilities."

The Biden administration is reportedly considering providing Ukraine with the MLRS and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in the newest military aid package, according to reports from CNN and The Washington Post on Friday.

A decision on what that package will contain is expected to be announced this week.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, criticized Biden's comments on long-range rockets on Monday, calling the failure to send Ukraine the rockets "a betrayal" of Ukraine "and democracy itself".

"Ukraine is not asking for American soldiers—just advanced weapons to protect and defend themselves from Putin's invasion," Graham tweeted.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked for long-range missile systems and on May 26, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense shared video to Twitter of what it described as Russian TOS-1A flamethrower rockets in Donetsk.

"This is what the the largest and most horrific war of the 21st century looks like. Ukraine is ready to strike back. To do this, we need NATO-style MLRS. Immediately," the ministry tweeted.

Ukrainian forces are struggling in the Donbas region in the east of the country amid Russian bombardment and could be about to lose control of the city of Severodonetsk. Russian forces have reportedly entered the city, which has suffered heavy Russian artillery attacks.

Newsweek has asked the White House for comment.

Joe Biden and Dmitry Medvedev
In this combination image, US President Joe Biden leaves Sacred Heart Catholic Church after attending mass in Uvalde, Texas on May 29, 2022 Russian Security Council Vice Chairman Dmitry Medvedev gestures during his speech at the 20th Congress of the United Russia Party, on June 19, 2021 in Moscow, Russia. Medvedev has said it's "rationale" for the U.S. not to provide Ukraine with long-range rockets. MANDEL NGAN/ Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images