US secretly shipped long-range missiles to Ukraine

Conflicts 11:16 25.04.2024

The White House confirmed Wednesday it is carrying out secretive deliveries of long-range ballistic missiles to Ukraine that Kyiv long requested, Ednews reports citing Anadolu Agency.

President Joe Biden signed off on the deliveries of the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) in February, and the first shipments began the following month, Jake Sullivan, his national security advisor, told reporters.

The deliveries "followed Russia's procurement and use of North Korea's ballistic missiles against Ukraine, as well as Russia's renewed and escalating attacks against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine," said Sullivan.

Ukraine had been requesting that the ATACMS be transferred for months amid a war with Russia that has largely ground to a stalemate in eastern Ukraine.

Sullivan said the US did not immediately provide the weapons because of initial concerns about the effects on US military "readiness," but said a "significant number" of ATACMS have been flowing into US stocks, "and as a result, we can move forward with providing ATACMS while also sustaining the readiness of the US armed forces."

"The path ahead will not be easy. Russia is going to continue to press its attacks against Ukrainian defenses, but for the reasons that I have laid out, over time we assess that Ukraine's position in this conflict will improve. And we believe that Ukraine can and will win," he said.

ATACMS are the longest-range missile provided to Ukraine by the US to date. They are capable of hitting targets up to 190 miles (305 km) away.

Additional deliveries are expected after Biden signed more than $60 billion in new military funding for Ukraine into law earlier Wednesday. An initial tranche rolled out by the Pentagon did not have the weapons listed.

But that package represents a sliver, $1 billion, of the funding appropriated by Congress.

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