According to a report from NBC News on Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden has communicated to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that the United States intends to supply Kyiv with Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), as confirmed by three U.S. officials and a congressional official.
Kyiv has consistently requested the Biden administration for ATACMS long-range missiles to aid in their efforts to target and disrupt supply routes, airfields, and railway networks within territories occupied by Russia.
During Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s recent visit to Washington for discussions with President Joe Biden on Thursday, the White House did not publicly disclose any decision regarding the provision of ATACMS. However, they did announce a new military aid package of $325 million for Kyiv.
Both the White House and the Pentagon have refrained from commenting on the NBC News report. Furthermore, the Pentagon has not confirmed whether any commitments regarding ATACMS were made to President Zelenskiy during his meetings at the Pentagon on Thursday. The Pentagon’s official statement is, “In regards to ATACMS, we have nothing to announce.”
During his official visit to Canada, President Zelenskiy did not provide a direct response when asked about the NBC report. However, he emphasized that the United States remains the largest single supplier of weaponry to Ukraine. Speaking through an interpreter at a press conference in Ottawa, he mentioned discussions encompassing various types of weapons, including long-range weapons, 155 mm artillery shells, and air defense systems. Zelenskiy underscored the comprehensive nature of these discussions and the ongoing collaboration with the United States at different levels.
It had been previously reported by Reuters that the Biden administration was considering sending ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, which have a range of up to 190 miles (306 km). These missiles are designed for deep attacks on enemy second-echelon forces and can be employed to target command and control centers, air defenses, and logistical infrastructure located well behind the front lines.
During President Zelenskiy’s visit to Washington, President Biden publicly reaffirmed strong U.S. support for Ukraine’s efforts to repel Russian invaders, despite some opposition from certain Republican lawmakers regarding additional aid funding.
Zelenskiy expressed gratitude to President Biden for the latest package of weaponry, including air defense systems, stating that it contains the equipment needed by Ukrainian soldiers at this time.
This information was reported by Phil Stewart and Jeff Mason in Washington and David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, with additional reporting by Rami Ayyb. The editing was done by Timothy Gardner.