US House requests $80mln worth of ATACMS for Ukraine in 2024
The United States is demanding that the next defense spending bill include $80 million worth of ATACMS for Ukraine despite having rebuffed requests for the missile numerous times.
The proposal for the 2024 defense spending bill in the US House includes a request for $80 million to be allocated towards Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), the legislation said Friday.
According to the bill, the committee intends that a minimum of $80 million from the funds authorized for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative in this Act should be used to procure Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
"Of the funds authorized for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative elsewhere in this Act, the committee intends that not less than $80.0 million be used for the procurement of Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) for the Armed Forces of Ukraine," the legislation read.
Additionally, the legislation calls for the Pentagon to provide an update on the procurement and availability of ATACMS for Ukraine by December 31.
President Joe Biden has mentioned that the United States is still considering the possibility of supplying Ukraine with Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).
ATACMS Missiles have a range of 190 miles and can be launched from existing launchers provided to Ukraine by Western countries, such as the HIMARS mobile launchers and the older M270 launchers.
The head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, said in April that it did not align with Washington's policy to give ATACMS to Ukraine at the time, but it seems that the tides have shifted.
From a military standpoint, he said, the US military is already facing a low count of these missiles and the US has "to make sure that we maintain our own munitions inventories".
"If there was a war in the Korean Peninsula or a great power war between the United States and Russia, or the United States and China, the consumption rates would be off the charts," he said.
The US will need "probably several years" to replenish the weapons stocks it has spent so far and will have to increase production to meet US defense needs.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has long been demanding ATACMS from the United States. During a meeting with US President Joe Biden in December in Washington, DC, Zelensky asked his US counterpart for ATACMS missiles.
The request came as the Russian forces learned to adjust their positions in such a way that the US-supplied HIMARS missiles, which have a range just short of 130 km, have been rendered ineffective.
Regardless, the United States still had the same position regarding the weapons, a source said under the condition of anonymity.
Moreover, a February report by Reuters said Washington yet again rebuffed Ukraine's request for ATACMS.