by Viviana Mazza
The first delivery will take place in the next few weeks. The agreement arrived late for fear that US supplies would run out and to avoid escalation with Russia
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
NEW YORK — President Joe Biden told Zelensky, who visited the White House the day before yesterday, that the United States will supply Kiev with a reduced number of long-range ATACMS missiles, as revealed yesterday by NBC News. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking to journalists in New York, did not confirm the news, but underlined that the sending of military aid is constantly under discussion and that decisions are also based on training and coordination with weapons sent by allies. The first missiles will arrive in the next few weeks and a further supply could arrive later, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ukraine has been asking for months for the Army Tactical Missile System, known by the acronym Atacms, which allows it to strike up to a distance of 300 kilometers and therefore attack enemy supply lines, railways, command and control centers at beyond the front line. Their importance has also increased because Kiev’s stocks of British and French long-range missiles are dwindling. The sending of the Atacms could also encourage Germany, which as already with the tanks has indicated that it prefers to act in concert with Washington, to send its own long-range Taurus missiles.
The supply of the Atacms was under scrutiny by the heads of various security agencies. The uncertainties were linked to two main reasons: first, the fact that the Pentagon does not have large stocks of them and feared running out of missiles useful on other fronts from Asia to the Middle East; Second, some in Washington worry that long-range missile (and drone) attacks could lead to an escalation of the war with Russia. According to the Washington Post, a variant of the Atacms will be supplied with cluster munitions instead of a single warhead, of which the Pentagon has a greater quantity.
Given the slowness of the counteroffensive and with winter upon us, Kiev is striking beyond the front line: Crimea has been repeatedly under attack, including yesterday’s raid against the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. During these 19 months of war, the United States has progressively supplied weapons that were initially denied, such as the Himars systems (which can be used to launch shorter range missiles, as well as the Atacms) and the Abrams tanks or the F16s (supplied by the allies with US approval). For the Atacms it will be like with the F16s, Zelensky told journalists at the Congress. After the meeting with Biden, the Ukrainian president had hinted at an agreement that will strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities. A thousand thanks. Further details will be announced soon.
September 22, 2023 (modified September 22, 2023 | 10.46 pm)
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