The US will not send ATACMS missiles to Ukraine because there are not enough of them

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According to the media, the United States is not ready to provide long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, because there are not enough of them and, first of all, the United States wants to provide these missiles to its army.

For this informs Politico.

The Biden administration gave its Ukrainian counterparts another reason not to send them long-range ATACMS missiles – the US is worried that they will not have enough of them.
During recent meetings at the Pentagon, US officials informed Kyiv representatives that they do not have spare army tactical missile systems.

Bringing ATACMS to the battlefield in Eastern Europe will reduce America’s stockpiles and harm the US military’s readiness for future combat.

This concern, along with the administration’s existing concern that Ukraine will use missiles with a range of more than 300 km to attack Russian territory and cross what the Kremlin says is a red line, is why the US is not sending ATACMS to the front lines.

The Pentagon’s estimate of its stockpile depends in part on how much weapons and ammunition planners think they might need to confront the enemy. These plans have not been significantly revised since the start of the war in Ukraine, and there has been no realignment of the stocks the US might need in reserve to counter a weakened Russia, or to account for the fact that Ukraine is essentially fighting this war right now.

One reason the military is hesitant to send ATACMS is to maintain a certain level of ammunition in U.S. stockpiles, said one U.S. official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military calculations.

“With any package, we always consider our readiness and our own stockpiles, providing Ukraine with what it needs on the battlefield. There are other ways to provide Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to strike targets,” said a high-ranking Pentagon official.

Over the past two decades, Lockheed Martin has produced about 4,000 ATACMS in various configurations. Some of these missiles were sold to allied countries who bought the missiles for their own salvo systems. About 600 were launched by US forces during the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

One workaround Kyiv is considering is to seek Washington’s permission to buy ATACMS from an ally that operates the weapon using United States military funding, according to one of the people familiar with the discussions. The list of ATACMS users includes South Korea, Poland, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Qatar and Bahrain.

Another concern about sending ATACMS — that it’s an overly aggressive move by the Biden team — remains. But Ukrainian officials have already heard such arguments for other weapons, but the Biden administration reversed course and provided Ukraine with artillery, a missile defense system and tanks.

Despite warnings from Washington, Ukraine continues to push for more sophisticated weapons, with ATACMS typically at the top of the list.

On February 14, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley will be in Brussels to host the ninth meeting of the Defense Contact Group on Ukraine, a monthly gathering of 50 countries to discuss what new military support they can provide Ukraine.

One person close to the Ukrainian government said Kyiv does not expect any new weapons in the aid package Austin will announce this week. Pulling from existing stockpiles and contracts for new weapons will not include ATACMS or F-16s, but will focus on munitions, air defense and spare parts.

Whatever the U.S. package—and other promises from partner countries—Ukraine seeks greater secrecy when those governments announce such aid.

Officials in Kyiv are increasingly concerned that some of the more detailed lists coming from Washington and elsewhere could provide too much information for Russia to prepare defenses or countermeasures against the new weapons.

Zelensky hinted at those growing concerns last week in Brussels when he met with European Union leaders to talk about what he needs this year and beyond.

The push for greater secrecy could be seen as a tough ask for some countries eager to show how deep their support for Ukraine is, especially when that support could also mean American military funding for stockpile replacements in the years to come.

At the EU summit, Zelensky officially asked the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Eduard Heger, to transfer part of his country’s MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine.

Heger said on Friday that he is ready to start negotiations about a potential transfer.

“The President of Ukraine asked me to supply MiGs. Now that this formal request has been received, the negotiation process can begin,” Heger said.

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