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US, France, Italy sending more arms to Ukraine despite Russia's warnings

File photo of an American ground-launched small-diameter bomb (GLSDB).

The United States, France, and Italy have all announced sending more weapons to Ukraine, playing down warnings by Russia, which is carrying out a military operation against the ex-Soviet republic. 

The Pentagon on Friday announced a new $2.2-billion arms package for Ukraine that includes rocket-propelled precision bombs, with reportedly double the range of the ammunition that Kiev has been deploying against Russian forces.

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder identified the new ammunition as ground-launched small-diameter bombs (GLSDB).

"This gives them a longer-range capability...," he said of the projectiles that can reportedly hit targets up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) away.

Russia launched the military operation, saying it was aimed at defending the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev.

The GLSDB potentially gives Ukraine the ability to strike anywhere in Donbas, which features Luhansk and Donetsk, as well as other regions, which have been taken over by Moscow.

The new tranche of American arms brings the total US assistance to Ukraine to more than $29 billion since the start of the conflict in February last year.

Ever since the beginning of the war, Ukraine's Western allies, including Washington and the European Union, have been supplying large consignments of heavy weaponry to Kiev and slapping Russia with a slew of sanctions. Moscow says such measures will only prolong the war.

Also on Friday, the French defense ministry said France and Italy had agreed to deliver mobile surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine.

The systems, called MAMBA or SAMP/T, are a vehicle-mounted battery of medium-range missiles designed against incoming projectiles such as missiles as well as manned or unmanned aircraft.

Last month, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian security council, said the extent of NATO's involvement in the war had turned it into an actual military conflict between the Western military alliance and Moscow.

Russia maintains that the West's anti-Russian agenda, including its eagerness for inclusion of Ukraine in NATO -- and, therefore, the alliance's expansion right up to Russia's borders -- have forced Moscow to launch the war against Kiev.

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