US may give Ukraine ATACMS missiles that can hit Russia far beyond the front lines: report

ATACMS Army Tactical Missile System
The Army Tactical Missile System.US Army/Wikipedia Commons/Public Domain
  • The US may send the Army Tactical Missile System to Ukraine, two officials told ABC News. 

  • The missiles can hit targets 190 miles away — farther than Ukraine's existing ammo.

  • The US has long been reluctant to grant the weapons for fear of upsetting Russia.

US officials are likely to give Ukraine the long-range ATACMS missiles it has long sought, ABC News reported Friday.

It cited two US officials for the information, both of whom were granted anonymity.

The US has long been reluctant to send the Army Tactical Missile System.

The missile system would be a significant boost to Ukraine. Its range of some 190 miles allows it to strike farther than other US-provided systems.

ATACMS is a type of ammunition that can be fired from the HIMARS launchers the US has already given Ukraine. It would be a big upgrade from Ukraine's HIMARS rounds, which can travel 50 miles.

Ukraine has other long-range-strike options, such as the British-provided Storm Shadow cruise missile, but supplies are tightly constrained.

Ben Hodges, a retired US general, previously told Insider that ATACMS would allow Ukraine to reach targets beyond Russia's defensive line and destroy headquarters and logistics sites.

Neither of ABC's sources was certain the new weapon would be approved. One said "they are coming" but added that the plan could be reversed. The second said they were "on the table" for future assistance packages.

A representative for the Department of Defense told Insider that the agency was aware of the report but that "no decision has been made to provide ATACMS at this time, and we have no security assistance announcements to make today."

The Wall Street Journal reported in June that officials were opening up to the idea of providing ATACMS.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has long said that his forces need the ATACMS to fight Russia.

Zelenskyy and President Joe Biden discussed ATACMS in person at a NATO summit in July but didn't reach a conclusion on what to do.

The US has resisted granting ATACMS to Ukraine, worrying that Russia's President Vladimir Putin could escalate the conflict.

It and other Western allies made similar arguments about initially declining to send equipment such as HIMARS, tanks, and cluster munitions, all of which were later sent.

In a September 2022 article, The New York Times characterized the US approach as "boiling the frog" — gradually increasing its assistance to Ukraine without making any single move so large as to prompt a big response from Russia.

Ukrainian officials have argued, in response, that delays in sending equipment are prolonging the war and leading to the deaths of its troops.

Representatives for Ukraine's Ministry of Defense and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider