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U.S. officials told Ukraine's representatives at a meeting at the Pentagon that it doesn’t have enough Army Tactical Missile Systems to give any up to Ukraine, according to four people familiar with the matter, Politico reported.
Providing ATACMS to Ukraine would diminish American stockpiles and hinder the U.S. military’s readiness for any future fight, the people told Politico.
“With any package, we always consider our readiness and our own stocks while providing Ukraine what it needs on the battlefield,” a senior Defense Department official told Politico. “There are other ways of providing Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to strike the targets.”
The U.S. has also refused to provide Ukraine with the long-range missiles over fears the missiles could be used to attack deep inside Russian territory.
According to one of the people who spoke to Politico, Ukraine is considering asking for the Biden administration's approval to buy ATACMS from allied countries that operate the weapons, such as South Korea, Poland, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Qatar, and Bahrain, with U.S. military financing.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address on Jan. 28 that Ukraine needs longer-range missiles, including MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), to stop "Russian terror."
“Ukraine needs long-range missiles to prevent (the Russian) occupiers from placing their missile launchers somewhere far from the front line and destroying Ukrainian cities with them,” Zelensky said.
The U.S.-provided HIMARS missiles that Ukraine currently uses have a range of 80 kilometers and cannot reach many of the Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine. ATACMS missiles have a range of 300 kilometers.