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Biden Admin Mulling Sending Longer-Range Missiles to Ukraine: Report


By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation

The Biden administration is considering sending longer-range missiles to Ukraine that would allow its military to strike deep inside Russian-occupied territory, NBC News reported, citing two U.S. officials.

In October, the destruction of a Russian airfield in Berdyansk, in occupied eastern Ukraine, revealed the U.S. secretly transferred a handful of older, medium-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to Ukraine after months of fielding requests from Kyiv’s leadership. The missiles now under consideration have a range of roughly 180 miles and would provide the capability to strike Crimea, although it’s unclear where funding for the missiles will come from as Congress’ national security budget stalls, NBC reported.

The Senate passed a $95 billion supplemental government funding bill that includes security assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. But, House Speaker Mike Johnson has refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, and if he does, it likely could fail amid mounting opposition from some Republican lawmakers.

The U.S. has a limited arsenal of ATACMS, and the White House is unlikely to approve the supply for Ukraine without funding approved for replenishing its own stockpiles, the officials said, according to NBC.

Other ammunition piles and artillery systems are ready to send to Ukraine as soon as the Department of Defense (DOD) receives the funding it needs to buy back those items, they said.

“Without a supplemental [funding bill], we do not currently have a security assistance package to give to Ukraine. At the same time, I won’t speculate on the contents of any future packages if a supplemental were to be passed. We will let you know if this changes and if we have a new package to announce,” a DOD spokesperson told NBC.

The Pentagon referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to the White House. A National Security Council spokesperson could not confirm NBC’s account.

“No decision to provide long range ATACMS has been made,” the spokesperson told the DCNF.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Munich on Saturday for an annual security conference, where he met with Ukrainian officials including Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

“I spent a very good part of the time arguing in favor of ATACMS,” Kuleba said at a press conference after the meeting, according to NBC.

“There is only one way to destroy Russian capabilities in Ukraine. It’s to hit deep into the occupied territories, bypassing Russian radio electronic warfare and interceptors,” he added, referring to the longer-range ATACMS.

The ATACMS provided to Ukraine have a shorter range of 100 miles, The Washington Post reported, citing a U.S. official familiar with the delivery — likely referring to the older, Block 1 variety.

Kyiv has begged for ATACMS since near the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022, arguing the missile’s range affords the ability to strike deep into Russian defensive positions. However, the White House worried that long-range missiles could increase the chances of conflict traveling further west into Europe, while the Pentagon said it did not have ATACMS to spare, according to Politico.

Related Story: U.S. Insufficiently Tracked More Than $1 Billion in Weapons for Ukraine, Pentagon Watchdog Finds

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