NBC: U.S. Will Send Ukraine ATACMS Long-Range Missiles, Biden Tells Zelenskyy

AP file photo
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday in Washington.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. President Joe Biden has informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Washington will provide Kyiv with ATACMS long-range missiles, NBC News reported on Friday, citing three U.S. officials and a congressional official.

Kyiv has repeatedly asked the Biden administration for Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to help attack and disrupt supply lines, air bases and rail networks in Russian occupied territory.

But the White House did not disclose any decision on ATACMS when Zelenskyy visited Washington on Thursday for talks with Biden, even as it announced a new $325 million military aid package for Kyiv.

The White House and Pentagon declined to comment on the NBC report. The Pentagon also declined to say whether any promise of ATACMS were given to Zelenskyy during his meetings on Thursday at the Pentagon, saying: “In regards to ATACMS we have nothing to announce.”

In Ottawa, Zelenskyy did not answer directly when asked about the NBC report, but noted that United States was the biggest single supplier of weaponry to Ukraine.

We are discussing all the different types of weapons — long range weapons and artillery, artillery shells with the caliber of 155 mm, then air defense systems, Zelenskyy, speaking through an interpreter, told a press conference during an official visit to Canada.

We have a comprehensive discussion and (we) work with the United States at different levels, he said.

Reuters had previously reported the Biden administration was considering shipping ATACMS to Ukraine that can fly up to 306 kilometers.

ATACMS are designed for “deep attack of enemy second-echelon forces,” a U.S. Army website says, and could be used to attack command and control centers, air defenses and logistics sites well behind the front line.

Biden publicly assured Zelenskyy on Thursday that strong U.S. support for his war to repel Russian invaders will be maintained despite opposition from some Republican lawmakers to sending billions more in aid.

Zelenskyy thanked Biden on Thursday for the latest package of weaponry, including air defenses, saying “it has exactly what our soldiers need now.”