The US will give Kyiv long-range ATACMS missiles aiding Ukraine’s ongoing counter-offensive in the south against Russia.
ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) missiles are advanced and long-range with up to 190 miles (300km). This will significantly aid Ukraine in targeting supply lines, airbases, and rail networks stationed far beyond the occupied Russian front lines.
The US and Ukraine presidents, Biden and Zelensky respectively, met at the White House on Thursday. They agreed on "a small number" of ATACMS missiles, which the US will send over the following weeks according to US officials who spoke to NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. The US also announced that $325 million will be sent as military aid for Kyiv.
Kyiv has been pushing the US for ATACMS for several months and Biden has been criticised for his slow provision of weaponry to Ukraine. This month, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that aiding Kyiv with long-range missiles crosses a “red line” and the US would be viewed as “a party to the conflict”.
On Friday, Zelenskyy said: “We are discussing all the different types of weapons – long-range weapons and artillery, artillery shells with the calibre of 155mm, then air defence systems.”
The Biden administration has provided Ukraine with several pieces of modern weaponry since Russia first invaded Ukraine, including high-precision Himars, long-range rocket systems, and Patriot air defence missiles.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the US was initially hesitant to provide military aid to Ukraine. However, its stance has since shifted. Still, President Biden has been hesitant regarding ATACMS deliveries, amid fears that such missiles could bring a direct clash with nuclear-armed Russia closer.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post cites several people familiar with the discussions as saying Ukraine will get ATACMS armed with cluster bomblets rather than a single warhead.
It states that key Russian supply lines, command positions, and other logistical hubs deep behind the front line would then be within striking distance, forcing Moscow and its military to move them further away, and thus making it harder to resupply troops and weaponry.
Russian positions in the occupied Ukrainian regions in the south - including Crimea - would be particularly vulnerable, Ukraine says.
Edited by: Anwen Venn
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