Report: US Close to Approving Long-Range ATACMS for Ukraine

The ATACMS have a range of up to 190 miles

The US is close to approving the provision of longer-range missiles for Ukraine that the White House has been reluctant to send due to concerns of escalation, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) have a range of up to 190 miles and can be fired from US-provided HIMARS rocket systems. The ATACMS would more than double Ukraine’s strike range and could be used to hit targets inside Crimea and in the Russian mainland.

Most of the ammunition Kyiv has for use with the HIMARS has a range of about 50 miles, although the US has also pledged Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB), which can hit targets up to 94 miles away. Russia said in March that it had downed a GLSDB for the first time.

US and European officials told the Journal that the decision to send ATACMS is pending approval at the highest levels of the US government. The report said that the officials have seen “signs that previously reluctant quarters of the US government, namely the White House, have come to see an urgent need to bolster Ukraine’s fight in the coming weeks.”

The officials cited Yevgeny Prigozhin’s short-lived mutiny as a reason why the US should escalate military aid for Ukraine. Hawks in Congress have been arguing that the uprising is evidence that US support for Kyiv is working and say it’s a reason to approve more spending on the war.

When asked about the report, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said, “I’m not aware of any imminent decisions as it relates to ATACMS.”

Ukrainian officials insist they won’t use ATACMS to target Russian territory, but the Discord leaks have suggested that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would want to use US-provided missiles in Russia. According to intelligence obtained by spying on Zelensky, he expressed “concern” about the fact that his forces didn’t have weapons that could hit troops inside Russia.

While the US has discouraged Ukraine from using US weapons inside Russia, the restriction does not apply to Crimea, which Moscow has controlled since 2014. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has acknowledged that Crimea is a “red line” for Russian President Vladimir Putin, but other US officials, including Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, have said the US supports Ukrainian attacks on the peninsula.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.