Biden administration officials are revisiting Ukraine’s request for ground-based missiles that can conduct longer-range strikes at Russian forces, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Ukraine has eyed the Army’s Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which can strike well behind Russian lines.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s forces want the ATACMS weapons to boost Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which is progressing slowly against Russia’s extensive defenses in southern Ukraine. The missiles can strike at 100 to 190 miles away.
President Joe Biden has not approved providing the ATACMS weapons to Ukraine, the Journal reported.
“Our position all along has been we will get Ukraine the capabilities that will enable it to succeed on the battlefield,” Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said. “And we will continue to assess the situation on the ground and make decisions based on that.”
The Journal reported that Zelenskyy is expected to visit Washington next week to meet with Biden. Sources familiar with the Ukrainian president’s plans said he also will address Congress and appear at the United Nations General Assembly.
Zelenskyy recently told CNN that he planned to press Biden to provide the missiles in the next few months.
The ATACMS weapons can be fired by the HIMARS launcher the U.S. provided to Ukraine last year.
The Biden administration has been reluctant to provide the missiles partly due to what it says is a limited inventory.
“From a military standpoint, we have relatively few ATACMS, we do have to make sure that we maintain our own munitions inventories, as well,” Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Defense One in March.
“And the range of the weapon — I think there’s a little bit of overstating of what an ATACMS can do and can’t do. You’re looking at a single shot, so think of a musket versus a repeating rifle.”
Russia has said that Ukraine acquiring longer-range missiles could cross a “red line” and escalate tensions between Moscow and Washington.
The Journal reported that plans under review call for providing Ukraine with a limited number of the missiles — which would ease Defense Department concerns about eating into U.S. stocks — and gaining assurances that the missiles would not be used to attack inside Russia.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee in June passed a bipartisan resolution urging the Biden administration to immediately transfer ATACMS to Ukraine.
“By not giving Ukraine the weapons it needs to win this war, the administration is prolonging the conflict and costing countless Ukrainian lives,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the Journal reported.
Charlie McCarthy ✉
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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