Risks of sending ATACMS to Ukraine have decreased – senior US general

Friday, 29 March 2024 —

General Charles Brown, Сhairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that the risks of war escalation associated with the supply of long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine have decreased compared to what they used to be.

As reported by Defense One, Brown noted that Russia's restrained response to a series of recent attacks by Ukrainian drones on Russian territory has allowed the Pentagon to revise its analysis of the escalation risk of shipping ATACMS to Ukraine.

"Those are the things that we… pay attention to. You know, what is the likelihood of escalation based on… different capabilities and different actions," the general noted.

Observers and some Republican lawmakers have pushed for the United States to send ATACMS missiles to Kyiv, as this would allow Ukrainian forces to jeopardise Russian positions, including in Crimea. The use of these missiles would make it more challenging for Russia to advance, as Ukraine could continue to strike even the best-fortified Russian positions from almost anywhere.

Some observers say that if the US Congress fails to pass a US$60 billion supplemental aid package for Ukraine, Russia could seize more territory as early as this spring.

Brown encouraged swift approval of the aid package, noting that Ukraine will face more artillery shelling in the foreseeable future. Additionally, the general indicated that fears of a large-scale Russian offensive in the spring may be exaggerated.

"I don't know if the Russians can generate a major offensive. I mean, if you look at…what's happened over the course of… the past year, the Russians have actually thrown a lot of capability and personnel and weapon systems and vehicles to gain what they have gained. And the way I would say, it's almost a meat grinder," Brown stressed.

Recently, media reports suggested that the US Pentagon was ready to supply long-range ATACMS missiles with a range of over 180 miles (approximately 290 km) to Ukraine. However, the Pentagon has not officially confirmed this.

At a press conference in February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that he was optimistic about the possible delivery of long-range weapons, including ATACMS, following recent talks with Western partners.

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