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Kuleba: ATACMS deliveries to increase, 'optimistic' that F-16s will arrive beginning of 2024

by Nate Ostiller October 19, 2023 5:19 PM 2 min read
A screenshot of an ATACMS launch on Oct. 17, 2023. (Valerii Zaluzhnyi/Telegram)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The U.S. will keep delivering Army Tactical Missiles Systems (ATACMS) to Ukraine on a consistent basis, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on the 1+1 TV channel on Oct. 19.

He also expressed hope that future deliveries would include the newer ATACMS variations that have a range of up to 300 kilometers.

On Oct. 18, a report by the New York Times confirmed that the U.S. had secretly sent Ukraine 20 ATACMS, which Kuleba said was just the first of such shipments.

Their first use on the battlefield was on Oct. 17 in strikes on Russian military airfields in occupied parts of Ukraine that destroyed nine helicopters and other equipment, as well as killing dozens of Russian soldiers.

The ATACMS sent by the U.S. so far have a range of up to 165 kilometers.

In regards to the progress towards the arrival of F-16 fighter jets, Kuleba said that it would be an "optimistic scenario" if the jets were delivered sometime in the beginning of 2024.

There were still some obstacles to their delivery, he acknowledged, namely pilot training.

Ukrainian pilots have been sent to a number of allied countries, including the U.S., for training that includes English language education.

Other members of the "fighter-jet coalition," established by 11 countries in July 2023 to help train Ukrainian pilots, have also echoed the early 2024 arrival date.

On Oct. 11, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that he expected Denmark to deliver the first shipment of F-16s in spring 2024.  

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reiterated that delivery timeline in comments on the same day.

US will reportedly give ATACMS to Ukraine. Will it change the war?
After over a year of pleading to get long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) from the U.S., Ukraine might finally receive this much desired weapon. Though to Ukraine’s disappointment it was not included in the latest military aid package worth $325 million announced by Washington on Sept.…

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