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Ukraine Could Get Long-Range Missiles Armed with U.S. Cluster Bombs: Officials

United States and South Korean troops utilizing the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and South Korea's Hyunmoo Missile II, fire missiles into the waters of the East Sea, off South Korea, July 5, 2017. 8th United States Army/Handout via REUTERS
United States and South Korean troops utilizing the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and South Korea’s Hyunmoo Missile II, fire missiles into the waters of the East Sea, off South Korea, July 5, 2017. 8th United States Army/Handout via REUTERS

The Biden administration is close to approving the shipment of longer-range missiles packed with cluster bombs to Ukraine, giving Kyiv the ability to cause significant damage deeper within Russian-occupied territory, according to four U.S. officials.

After seeing the success of cluster munitions delivered in 155 mm artillery rounds in recent months, the U.S. is considering shipping either or both Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) that can fly up to 190 miles (306 km), or Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles with a 45-mile range packed with cluster bombs, three U.S. officials said.

If approved, either option would be available for rapid shipment to Kyiv.

Ukraine is currently equipped with 155 mm artillery with a maximum range of 18 miles carrying up to 48 bomblets. The ATACMS under consideration would propel around 300 or more bomblets. The GMLRS rocket system, a version of which Ukraine has had in its arsenal for months, would be able to disperse up to 404 cluster munitions.

With Ukraine's push against Russian forces showing signs of progress, the administration is keen to boost the Ukrainian military at a vital moment, two of the sources said.

Related Story: Key U.S. Allies Break with Biden Over Shipping Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

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