U-turn on long-range weapons?: USA ready to deliver ATACMS to Kiev after all

Turnaround with long-range weapon?
USA probably ready to deliver ATACMS to Kiev after all

US President Biden promises Kiev another arms supply. However, the long-awaited ATACMS long-range weapons are missing. According to a report, the Americans are now willing to send them to Ukraine – in small numbers. This could have a decisive influence on Germany’s consideration of supplying its own cruise missiles.

US President Joe Biden is said to have promised his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyj during his visit to Washington that he would deliver a small number of long-range ATACMS missiles to support the war against Russia. This is reported by NBC News citing three US officials and a congressional official familiar with the discussions. However, the officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, did not say when the missiles would be delivered or when a public announcement of the delivery would be made, it said.

The delivery would also be important because it could fuel the debate in Germany about the delivery of Taurus rockets. So far, the federal government has only promised to examine the delivery of these cruise missiles. The Taurus cruise missiles are suitable for destroying bunkers and protected command posts up to 500 kilometers away. Just the day before, Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that Biden would not promise ATACMS during Zelensky’s visit. After careful consideration, Biden decided against supplying ATACMS missiles, Sullivan said. “But he doesn’t rule it out for the future either.”

According to the Washington Post, the promised missiles are said to be be a special variant of the long-range weapon. It is said to be armed with cluster bombs instead of a single warhead. But Ukraine wanted to have the particularly effective individual warheads. These are able to break through thick masonry, such as bunkers.

Interdepartmental discussions about whether to approve the weapons have shifted in recent days from the deputy committee, a meeting of representatives of the second-highest officials in the national security agencies, to the main committee, which includes the heads of each agency, the officials said “Washington Post”.

ATACMS with a range of 300 kilometers

For months, Ukraine has been demanding the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which would enable Kiev to attack targets up to 300 kilometers away and hit supply lines, railway lines and command and control points behind the Russian front.

Defense sources said the US does not have a large stockpile of ATACMS that could be made available to Ukraine. In addition, some in Washington have resisted the delivery of the weapon, colloquially known as “Attack-Ems,” because they fear it would expand the war with Russia, NBC said.

The congressional official said there is still a debate about what kind of missiles and how many of them should be delivered to Ukraine. The officials added that Eastern European countries had already given Ukraine large portions of their weapons stocks.

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