With Zelensky currently in New York and soon to arrive in Washington, the big question remains whether the Biden administration will grant him something that has long topped Ukraine’s wish list: the military’s tactical missile system MGM-140 or ATACMS.
Fox News Pentagon correspondent Lucas Tomlinson says it appears the White House is against it, at least for now. His sources told him Next:
Ukraine will not receive ATACMSthe 190-mile-range tactical ballistic missiles, urgently requested by Zelensky to destroy Russian forces in Crimea and other Russian-controlled territories. ‘anytime,’ officials say. The news comes a day before Zelensky visits Biden at the White House.
But nothing is certain, and there are other publications suggesting that Biden is ready to approve these long-range guided missiles, which would have the potential to strike deep into Russian territory.
In a report on Wednesday, The Atlantic Council notes: “On the record and on the record, commentators and administration officials over the past two months they’ve been all over the mapsometimes expressing disappointment and concern about Ukraine’s progress, but also suggesting that there have been incremental gains and that the prospect of progress is growing.”
The prevailing thinking is that if Ukraine shows more progress, it will be politically easier for the West to provide more weapons at a faster rate. However, Kiev has complained that it cannot advance faster unless it first has these more advanced weapons.
Ukraine will not receive ATACMS, the 190-mile-range tactical ballistic missiles urgently requested by Zelensky to destroy Russian forces in Crimea and other Russian-controlled territories “any time soon,” officials say. The news comes a day before Zelensky visits Biden at the White House.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) September 20, 2023
The Atlantic Council alludes to this state of affairs based on battlefield mishaps in Next:
These different assessments have a surreal element. Given the months Moscow had to prepare its defenses for the Ukrainian assault, and the continued reluctance of the White House to provide the most advanced weapons Ukraine needs to increase the odds of success (the F-16 and long-range fires such as the Army Tactical). Missile Systems—ATACMS), a major Ukrainian breakthrough that would disrupt Moscow’s ground supply corridor to Crimea was unlikely. This means that the hand-wringing about lost progress was not based on sound military fact or analysis.
But whether NATO, or Kiev, or the think tanks… there is one thing they can all agree on:
Good news for some people: https://t.co/9ThRRCALqn
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 20, 2023
All of this raises another dilemma: that if the White House approves ATACMS or other long-range missiles, it means that this advanced system is being handed over to the losing side.
Instead of making progress on the front lines, it would only increase the potential for NATO and Russia to be absorbed into a direct clash. This, as Ukraine has clearly shown a willingness to launch cross-border attacks against Russian cities with anything in its arsenal.