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US approaching decision to supply Ukraine with ATACMS missiles

It’s unclear when these ATACMS could be provided or how many, but the White House is still not confirming.
US approaching decision to supply Ukraine with ATACMS missiles
Posted at 3:16 PM, Sep 22, 2023

One of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s top requests has been the supply of ATACMS missiles. ATACMS is a long-range missile missile system that was used in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. It has a range of up to 190 miles, so it can target behind Russia’s front lines to reach Crimean supply lines, railways and command and control hubs, causing the Russians to pull back from the frontline without using Ukrainian tanks or troops. 

Just yesterday, when Zelenskyy visited the White House, a source said he asked Defense Secretary Austin about ATACMS, and promised he would not use it in Russia. Zelenskyy was told President Biden would make that decision. 

The hesitation comes from the limited supply and needs to keep some for U.S. defenses.

A Ukrainian official told Scripps News' Sasha Ingber that there were discussions on the American side and they were very positive, but it’s unclear when these ATACMS could be provided or how many. But the White House is still not confirming. 

SEE MORE: Russian missiles hit Ukraine as Zelenskyy is set to meet US lawmakers

Zelenskyy's goal is to make Crimea an untenable place for the Russians. A senior mentor on logistics for NATO, retired Commanding Gen. U.S. Army Europe Ben Hodges says ATACMS are the most important weapon the U.S. could provide, even though a former Russian security officer says the Russians had been anticipating this and will adjust their ground air defense systems. 

Hodges says Russian’s won’t be able to hide their air base at Saky or the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, whose headquarters they even hit today.

Ingber also spoke with retired 4-star Gen. Philip Breedlove, who said if the U.S. only supplies multiple cluster warhead ATACMS, it will help, but It’s not the type the Ukrainians really need. He said they need a different variant, called a unitary high explosive warhead, which you can drop on major, multiple sections of the Kerch Strait bridge. That bridge has been hit before and it connects Russia to the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. It’s a key supply route for their military and it’s also symbolic for Putin.

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