Senior US Republicans ask Biden for longer-range ATACMS for Ukraine

A group of senior Republicans in the US Congress have called on president Joe Biden to provide Ukraine with longer-range ATACMS missiles, showing support among American lawmakers despite some conservatives resisting more aid, Reuters reports.

In a letter to Biden dated 1 November, the top Republicans on congressional foreign relations and armed services committees said they welcomed the transfer of some limited-range ATACMS to Ukraine, but asked Mr Biden to send more longer-range systems.

“Ukraine’s requirement for deep-strike capability remains urgent, particularly to range targets throughout Crimea,” representatives Michael McCaul and Mike Rogers and senators James Risch and Roger Wicker wrote.

Mr McCaul chairs the House of Representatives foreign affairs committee, Mr Rogers leads the house armed services committee, Mr Risch is the top Republican on Senate foreign relations and Mr Wicker is the top Republican on Senate armed services.

In their letter, the US lawmakers said Ukraine has requested long-range ATACMS and demonstrated the ability to employ them in a responsible manner and Russia has not escalated in response to their use.

“Clearly, it is time for you to finish the job on ATACMS. The costs of failing to do so not only risks stalemate on the battlefield and the further protraction of this war, but also threatens further global instability as our adversaries conduct influence operations around the globe.”

Ukraine has been asking Washington for long-range ATACMS for a long time. On October 17, it became known that Ukraine has already received them (up to 20 missiles, according to the NYT), but the oldest and most basic version, which has a maximum range of 165 km.

Other ATACMS variants with a unitary warhead reach up to 300 km, the experimental version of the PRISM missile can travel up to 500 km.