US closer to giving Ukraine ATACMS missiles- WSJ

29.06.2023, 19:40
US closer to giving Ukraine ATACMS missiles- WSJ - Photo
An ATACMS launch

The United States might be closer to approving sending ATACMS long-range missiles to Ukraine, a move Kyiv has long been lobbying for amid the White House’s reluctance, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A senior Ukrainian defence official told the WSJ Kyiv had received "positive signs" in recent weeks that the US had come around on the ATACMS system.

Officials in America and Europe have also seen signs that previously reluctant quarters of the US government, namely the White House, have come to see an urgent need to bolster Ukraine’s fight in the coming weeks.

"Amid the domestic turmoil in Russia, where over the weekend the founder of the Wagner mercenary force staged an abortive mutiny, US and European officials indicated that now might be the time to provide the more advanced weaponry", per the WSJ report.

Earlier, US president Joe Biden was reluctant to sign off on the transfer of ATACMS missiles, in part out of concern among US officials Ukraine could use it to strike Russian territory and escalate the conflict into a wider war.

ATACMS is an American tactical ballistic missile system, with a range of 165 to 310 kilometres, that can be launched from HIMARS and MLRS systems. So far, Ukraine has received HIMARS ammunition with a 70 to 80 kilometres’ range.

Ukraine's ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, recently argued the Biden administration has shown a 'change of heart' regarding possible transfer of long-range ATACMS missiles to Kyiv.

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