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Washington Post: US sticking to decision not to give ATACMS missiles to Ukraine

by Alexander Khrebet July 23, 2023 6:59 PM 3 min read
Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is fired during a joint exercise between the United States and South Korea on Oct. 5, 2022. (Photo: South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)
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The Joe Biden Administration is holding firm on its refusal to send ATACMS long-range missiles to Ukraine, the Washington Post reported on July 22, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

The MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, is a guided long-range cruise missile with a reach of over 300 kilometers. Ukrainian officials believe ATACMS are needed for the counteroffensive to breach entrenched Russian positions.

However, the Pentagon believes that Ukrainian forces have more urgent needs than ATACMS, and worries that sending the needed amount of missiles to Ukraine would undercut U.S. readiness for other possible conflicts, according to the report.

ATACMS can reach farther than any of the U.S. weapons that have been delivered to Ukraine, behind the frontline. The range would allow Ukrainian forces to target the farthest targets in occupied Crimea, including the Russian Naval base in Sevastopol and the bridge over the Kerch Strait, a key logistic route for the Russian forces.

Ukraine's Presidential Office head Andrii Yermak said on July 14 that the U.S. is "very close" to making a decision on whether to provide Ukraine with ATACMS missiles.

Nevertheless, there has been no change in U.S. policy and no substantive discussion about ATACMS supply for months, the Washington Post reported.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will
First it was the tanks, now it’s the fighter jets. As Ukraine braces for another possible major Russian offensive in the upcoming weeks, Western leaders are yet again coming up with a variety of excuses why this time, they cannot justify supplying F-16 and F-35 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Since May, Ukrainian forces have been using Storm Shadow/SCALP missiles, jointly developed by the U.K. and France.

Depending on the version these missiles have a maximum range of approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles).

“Without long-range weapons, it is difficult not only to carry out an offensive mission but also to conduct a defensive operation,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a July 7 news conference in Prague.

U.S. lawmakers submitted a bill to Congress on June 16 proposing the allocation of $80 million for the purchase of ATACMS for Ukraine.

Since last year, the supply has been a contentious topic among U.S. politicians. In July 2022, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that Washington was hesitant to provide ATACMS, fearing that such a move could escalate into World War III.

Retired US General Petraeus: ‘Now it’s inevitable – we should give the ATACMS’
The Kyiv Independent interviewed retired U.S. General David Petraeus on the sidelines of a security conference held by the Cipher Brief in Kyiv on May 31. Petraeus is a four-star U.S. general who has commanded two wars. He has headed multinational forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has
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