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Biden: U.S. is considering sending ATACMS to Ukraine

by Abbey Fenbert July 13, 2023 12:39 AM 2 min read
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The U.S. is considering providing long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, President Joe Biden confirmed in a statement on July 12.

Biden told Jennifer Jacobs, a journalist from Bloomberg News, that the administration is still thinking about sending ATACMS to Ukraine, but that the more pressing military need is for  artillery shells.

"We're working on that," he said.

The Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, is a guided long-range cruise missile with a reach of over 300 kilometers. Ukrainian defense officials believe the weapons are needed in order for the counteroffensive to breach entrenched Russian defenses. The U.S., thus far, has maintained that providing the missiles would signal an unnecessary escalation.

As President Biden prepared to leave the Vilnius NATO summit, he confirmed reports that the provision of ATACMS is still under discussion. He told Jacobs that the administration is considering the move, but that Ukraine already possesses similar weapons systems.

He was likely referring to the SCALP missiles that French President Emmanuel Macron promised to send Ukraine at the summit on July 11. Like the British Storm Shadows, which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave Ukraine in May, SCALP missiles have a range of approximately 25o kilometers.

The U.S. has not made a similar committment, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the prospect of an ATACMS transfer with Biden in Vilnius. While no decision was reached at the summit, Biden's remarks indicate that the delivery of ATACMS is still a possibility.

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