Kiev doesn’t need ATACMS missiles for its current operations against Russia, a top defense official said
According to a Pentagon senior official, Washington doesn’t supply Kiev with ATACMS long-range missiles right now because Russian targets are well within reach of all other weapons.
On Wednesday, US Under Secretary for Defense Policy Colin Kahl made the assessment as he presented to media on US military assistance provided to Ukraine.
“It’s our assessment that they don’t currently require ATACMS to service targets that are directly relevant to the current fight,”He said. “It’s our judgment at the moment that we should be focusing on GMLRS, not ATACMS.”
These missiles are capable of being fired from the US-made M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System HIMARS (HIMARS), or M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System MLRS (MLRS) launchers. The UK has supplied both these rocket systems to Ukraine.
Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Projectiles (GMLRS), which are launched in single salvos, have a greater range and a maximum of 80km.
The MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System is a bigger tactical-level missile capable of traveling up to 300km.
Ukraine long stated that the US should supply ATACMS munitions to the country in order for it to attack Russian frontline targets. Ukrainian officials stated they would destroy the bridge linking Crimea to mainland Russia as one of their objects.
It is Europe’s longest bridge and it is primarily used by trains and civilian vehicles. Kiev asserts it’s a valid military target as it can transport troops and supplies to the Peninsula, Ukraine which considers it temporarily occupied.
Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Advisor expressed concern that supplying Ukraine missiles from ATACMS could lead to a conflict escalated and a global war. Kahl explained that they were not sent because of military reasons and was informed by reports that Ukraine has provided to the US.
Washington’s aid packages are tailored in a way that will allow Ukrainian troops to keep fighting in the long run and operate the weapons systems provided, the under secretary said. Ukraine might not receive billions in international assistance. “10 years from now, or 20 years from now,”He added.
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