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Yermak: US is 'very close' to decision on ATACMS for Ukraine

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 14, 2023 6:06 PM 2 min read
In this handout photo released by the South Korean Defense Ministry, U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) firing a missile into the East Sea during a South Korea-U.S. joint missile drill aimed to counter North Korea¡¯s ICBM test on July 29, 2017 in East Coast, South Korea. (South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)
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Washington is "very close" to making a decision on whether to provide Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles, Ukraine's Presidential Office head Andrii Yermak told journalists on July 14.

Yermak said he's in good contact with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and is well aware of the decision-making process.

President Joe Biden confirmed on July 12 that the U.S. was considering supplying the long-requested missiles to Ukraine. He told Bloomberg, however, that artillery ammunition was a more urgent need for Ukraine as the country already possesses weapons systems similar to ATACMS.

Biden was likely referring to the SCALP long-range missiles pledged by France at the latest NATO summit and the U.K.-provided Storm Shadow missiles, in use by the Ukrainian military since May.

Storm Shadows and Scalp missiles have a range of approximately 250 kilometers. Meanwhile, the Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, can reach targets more than 300 kilometers away.

Ukraine's president discussed the provision of ATACMS with his American counterpart at the Vilnius NATO summit on July 12.

Washington has been reluctant to supply ATACMS due to the fear of escalation and the concerns that they may be used to attack Russian territory.

Supporters of providing ATACMS argue that Kyiv's inability to strike targets far from the frontline results in the deaths of numerous Ukrainians and makes it very difficult for Ukraine to expel Russian troops from its territory.

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