During the visit of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to the USA, the Ukrainian delegation is likely to repeat its plea to receive long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, and Grey Eagle and Reaper drones, Politico reports, citing a person familiar with the discussions.
However, the USA isn’t ready to budge:
“The Biden White House has flatly rejected sending the ATACMS. The costs of doing so are high, US officials say. Sending long-range missiles to Kyiv could risk provoking Putin using potentially even more lethal weapons inside Ukraine,” Politico writes.
Ukraine fears it will not be able to advance on the battlefield in the winter without gaining new technologically advanced weapons from the USA.
On 21 December, Biden is expected to present a new $2bn aid package that will include a Patriot air defense battery and Joint Direct Attack Munition kits which turn fighter jets’ unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions, as well as $850 million worth of artillery and other munitions from existing US stockpiles.
As of publication time, the White House confirmed that the USA will indeed supply the Patriot missile battery to Ukraine. A transcript of a press meeting of a White House official prior to the visit reads:
“President Biden will announce a significant new package of nearly $2 billion of security assistance for Ukraine. It will contain a very important new capability: a Patriot missile battery, which will be a critical asset to defend the Ukrainian people against Russia’s barbaric attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. We will train Ukrainian forces on how to operate the Patriot missile battery in a third country. This will take some time, but Ukrainian troops will take that training back to their country to operate this battery.”