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Ukraine Signals Major Weapons Request for Long-Term Offensive Against Russia

F-22Raptor

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WASHINGTON—Ukraine has signaled that it will make major new requests for weapons from the US and its allies, including a long-range missile system Washington has declined to provide, as Kyiv presses a successful offensive that has reclaimed thousands of square miles from Russian forces .

A document shared with US lawmakers and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal lists dozens of types of armaments the Kyiv government says it will need to press its offensive into 2023.

Among them are the Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, which has a range of about 190 miles. The Biden administration, which has dispatched more than $15 billion worth of weapons and other security assistance to Ukraine, has declined to provide that system over concerns Ukraine could use it to strike Russian territory and spark a wider conflict with the West.

Ukraine’s list of requirements for “offensive operations” includes 29 types of weapon systems and ammunition. Among them are tanks, drones, artillery systems; more Harpoon antiship missiles; and 2,000 missiles for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or Himars, which the United States began providing earlier this year.

Ukraine’s requests come as its forces have routed Russian troops in northeastern Ukraine.

It follows the recent publication of a strategy statement by Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander in chief of Ukraine’s forces, and Mykhailo Zabrodsky, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and a senior military officer who led the most significant Ukrainian counterattack in the 2014 war with Russia.

They argued that Russia has long-range cruise missiles that greatly outdistance the systems in the Ukrainian inventory. A turning point could come if the Ukrainians also had longer-range systems, they argued, specifically mentioning the ATACMS.

“The only way to radically change the strategic situation is, without a doubt, for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to launch several consecutive, and ideally, simultaneous counterattacks during the 2023 campaign,” they wrote.

The Kyiv government says it has taken back about 3,500 square miles of territory in the Kharkiv region.

Ukraine’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Asked Friday why the US remained reluctant to give Ukraine the ATACMS missiles, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the US was committed to giving the Ukrainians what they need to beat back the Russian forces, but said “It’s not just about one particular weapon or weapons system .”

“It’s about how you integrate these systems and how you integrate the efforts of various elements in the inventory to create effects that provide advantage to the Ukrainians,” he said in Prague alongside Czech Minister of Defense Jana Cernochova. “And we’re beginning to see that.”

 

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