It's Up to Ukrainians How They Use ATACMS – Blinken

Saturday, 16 September 2023

The United States and Germany are discussing the transfer of ATACMS and Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that it is up to the Ukrainian Armed Forces to decide how they will use the US missiles.

Blinken, commenting on the possibility of providing ATACMS missiles, at the joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock noted that when transferring each weapons system to Ukraine, a number of factors are taken into account. 

"Ukrainians should be able to use them effectively. Also, new complex systems require maintenance, and, of course, we do this. They need to be able to maintain them on time, and this doesn't happen automatically. And then they should fit into a holistic military programme that makes sense to help Ukraine achieve its goals," the Secretary of State stressed. 

He added that the way Ukrainians use these weapons is "their business". 

"And it's up to them to make decisions about what can be most effective when it comes to restoring their territorial integrity. In line with our own policy, we do not encourage or allow the use of our weapons systems outside of Ukraine. But again, this is the decision of Ukraine," Blinken said.

In particular, Baerbock noted that possible concerns about strikes on the territory of the Russian Federation are not an argument when considering the issue of providing Ukraine with long-range weapons since the country has the right to self-defence. 

"The argument is that there are sensitive issues that need clarification, especially for our Taurus system, and it's not as simple as it might seem at first glance. Therefore, the federal government, the defence minister, the chancellor and I have repeatedly said this over the past weeks, and we have made it clear repeatedly that we are conducting intensive discussions and exploring what we can do," the German minister said. 

Earlier, the WSJ reported that the United States is approaching the provision of ATACMS to Ukraine, and they are considering transferring a limited number of missiles.

Germany has not yet made a decision on the Taurus missiles, but Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is convinced it's only a "matter of time".

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