President Joe Biden reportedly told Volodymyr Zelensky during a White House meeting this week that the United States would send Ukraine long-range ATACMS missiles, amid growing questions about continued war funding .
In addition to the $325 million military aid package, Biden reportedly pledged in a meeting with Zelensky on Thursday to provide the war-torn country with ATACMS missiles. The long-range missiles, capable of hitting targets up to 300 kilometers away, would represent a significant improvement for Ukrainian forces, which currently only have missiles capable of striking at a range of around 150 kilometers.
kyiv has long lobbied Washington for the Pentagon to provide ATACMS. However, the Biden administration has previously hesitated to make this decision, for fear of escalating the war with Russia. According to a report from Wall Street Journal Citing American officials, the Ukrainians assured that they would not use long-range missiles to strike Russian territory.
The Defense Department also reportedly feared that providing ATACMS to Kiev could dangerously reduce U.S. missile supplies, which could put the military at a disadvantage if another conflict breaks out in Asia or the Middle East.
However, according to the report, these concerns were assuaged by the Biden administration’s decision to authorize the shipment of cluster munitions to Ukraine, thereby expanding the number of ATACMS available to send to the country, being given that some are equipped with cluster munitions. This type of weapon, which explodes in the air to rain over a wide area, has been banned by more than 100 countries due to its high failure rate and its propensity to explode later, putting civilians at risk. hazard.
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So far, the White House and Pentagon have not confirmed reports that Biden promised Zelensky ATACMS missiles. The reports also do not specify when the United States will begin supplying the missiles if confirmed.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the administration “would not take this topic off the table going forward,” adding that President Biden “is constantly talking to both his own military, his counterparts in Europe and to the Ukrainians themselves, of what is necessary.” on the battlefield at any phase of the war.
Sullivan added that the White House “will ensure that we are able to meet our own deferred deterrence and defense needs.”
The reports come amid growing sentiment that Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive against the Russians is unlikely to happen before winter conditions make the movement of troops and heavy weapons difficult. Even President Zelensky admitted this week that “no one knows” whether there would be a significant breakthrough against heavily entrenched Russian lines this year, although he said he thought Ukraine “would have more success ” next year.
However, it remains to be seen how much longer the West will continue to subsidize Kiev’s war effort, with Warsaw announcing this week that Poland would no longer supply weapons to Ukraine amid growing trade tensions after that the EU lifted the ban on Ukrainian grain imports. , and Poland, Slovakia and Hungary announced they would adopt their own bans to protect their domestic markets.
There is also growing opposition to increased proxy war funding in Washington, with nearly two dozen Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who spoke out on Thursday to announce their intention to vote against more money for Ukraine. The Biden administration is currently demanding that Congress provide an additional $24 billion in aid to the country, on top of the $113 billion approved by lawmakers last year.
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