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U.S. Senator Mark Warner delivers remarks during a Rules Committee hearing at the Russell Senate Office Building on Nov. 14, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
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The United States could begin transferring long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to Ukraine "by the end of the week," pending White House approval of the  military aid package recently passed in the House of Representatives, U.S. Senator Mark Warner told CBS News in an interview published April 21.

After months of delays and political infighting, the House on April 20 approved a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine. The Senate is expected to advance the bill in the coming days, whereupon U.S. President Joe Biden will sign it into law.

Warner, a Democrat, said that shipments that include long-range missile systems could be ready to go within days.

"I hope once the President signs ... making sure Congress does its job that these materials will be in transit by the end of the week," Warner said.

The U.S. first delivered ATACMS missiles to Ukraine in October 2023, following months of deliberation. The package included only the older models with a range of 165 kilometers. Newer variants of ATACMS have a maximum range of around 300 kilometers and have so far not been provided to Ukraine.

In late February, NBC News reported that the White House is ready to provide Kyiv with longer-range ATACMS missile variants if Congress approves a new funding package.

Warner said that the ATACMS are part of the new aid package and are ready to ship.

"The ATACMS — I believe the administration was prepared over the last couple of months to prepare or to provide ATACMS. It is written into this legislation," he said.

The long-awaited passage of additional U.S. military aid comes as Ukraine faces deteriorating battlefield conditions and severe shortages of air defense systems and artillery.

"It should have happened six months ago," Warner said of the new aid package.

"The next best time is right now, this week."

Warner praised the Ukrainian military for its achievements despite these obstacles, and said U.S. aid to Ukraine has proved well worth the financial investment.

"Now and the last two years, with less than 3% of our defense budget, two years running, with the Ukrainians have eliminated 87% of the Russians pre existing ground forces, 63% of their tanks, 32% of their armored personnel carriers, without a single American soldier lost, because of the courage of the Ukrainians, and the equipment they've received from us, and from our European allies," he said.

Long-range missile systems have long been a top priority for Kyiv, though some Western governments have held back on providing the weapons due to fears of escalation with Russia.

Ukraine aid bill finally passes the House – what happens next?
After months of political wrangling in Congress, frustration in Kyiv and a deteriorating situation on the battlefield, the U.S. House on April 20 passed the critically-needed $61 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine. But while Kyiv breathed a sigh of relief at the news, the next few weeks remain

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