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ATACMS to be included in US package, possibly arriving in Ukraine next week – senator

“The great news is, this is finally happening. It should have happened six months ago,” Mark Warner says.
ATACMS
ATACMS missile pictured being launched in South Korea. Photo: South Korea Defense Ministry
ATACMS to be included in US package, possibly arriving in Ukraine next week – senator

Senator Mark Warner, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on April 21, 2024, provided details of the recent long-awaited US aid package, USD 61 billion in military aid to Ukraine, a move that underscores its commitment to supporting Kyiv against Russian aggression. He said that the package aims to reinforce not only Ukraine’s defensive capabilities but also the US industrial base.

“The great news is, this is finally happening. It should have happened six months ago. The next best time is right now, this week,” Senator Warner remarked, highlighting the urgency and importance of the aid. He emphasized the resilience and efficacy of the Ukrainian forces under trying conditions, noting, “With less than 3% of our defense budget over the last two years, the Ukrainians have eliminated 87% of the Russians’ pre-existing ground forces, 63% of their tanks, and 32% of their armored personnel carriers—all without a single American soldier lost.”

A significant component of the aid is the delivery of ATACMS, long-range tactical missiles that promise to give Ukraine a crucial edge in artillery engagements. “I hope once this gets to the President by Tuesday or Wednesday, these shipments will be literally launched with that longer-range ATACM,” Warner anticipated, suggesting that the delivery could alter the battlefield dynamics significantly by the end of the week.

ATACMS can strike targets up to 300 kilometers away, which is significantly further than the artillery systems previously supplied to Ukraine. This extended range allows Ukrainian forces to hit strategic targets deep within enemy territory without having to move closer to the front lines. The precision of ATACMS, guided by GPS, ensures that these strikes can be executed with high accuracy, minimizing collateral damage and maximizing the impact on military targets.

The interview also delved into the broader geopolitical implications of the war, particularly the role of China in aiding Russia, which Senator Warner criticized sharply. “China being the worst offender with direct military support,” he stated, pointing to the complexities of global politics that challenge the efficacy of international sanctions. He added, “India, in terms of purchasing Russian oil and giving that hard currency to Russia, allows them to go out into the marketplace and acquire arms.”

The senator also discussed the strategic importance of supporting global stability beyond the Russian-Ukrainian front. This includes substantial military assistance to Israel and humanitarian aid for Palestinians, as well as a significant focus on the Indo-Pacific region due to rising concerns over China’s posture toward Taiwan.

Recent reports have highlighted a significant escalation in China’s support for Russia amidst the ongoing war. The United States has expressed concerns that China is bolstering Moscow’s military efforts by supplying geospatial intelligence, microelectronics, and other crucial military components. This development is causing a strain on relations between Washington and Beijing and raising alarms among European allies.

China’s alignment with Russia has grown deeper, contradicting its neutral stance in public forums. Ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin hailed the relationship with China as a “no limits” friendship, an assertion that has manifested through substantial military collaborations detailed in recent disclosures. The US administration has pointed out that China has provided Russia with advanced satellite imagery and microelectronics critical for military operations, along with machine tools used in tank production.

As the situation continues to evolve, the US is positioned as a key player in shaping the conflict’s outcome through strategic aid and global diplomatic efforts. Senator Warner’s comments underscore the critical role of timely and decisive support in safeguarding not only Ukraine’s sovereignty but also the broader interests of democratic nations facing authoritarian challenges.

Related:

  1. [ISW: Ukraine likely to blunt Russian offensive if resumed, US assistance arrives promptly]
  2. [ISW: Russia likely to ramp up offensive before US military aid reaches Ukraine]
  3. [Ukrainian air defense intercepts all 31 Russian missiles targeting Kyiv]
  4. [It’s ten years of Russia’s war against Ukraine, not two]
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