Bipartisan House members push Biden on long-range missiles for Ukraine

Joe Biden, Volodymyr Zelenskyy
The White House strongly hinted Friday that President Joe Biden will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the G-7 in Hiroshima, Japan. Evan Vucci/AP

Bipartisan House members push Biden on long-range missiles for Ukraine

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A handful of lawmakers from both parties are reiterating calls for the Biden administration to provide Ukraine with long-range missiles.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly declined Ukrainian requests for Army Tactical Missile Systems due to concerns that Russia could view it as an escalation of the war, and possible U.S. involvement in it, if it provides weapons to Kyiv for troops to target locations within Russian territory. A group of lawmakers, however, revealed a resolution on Friday, urging the president to change his stance.

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House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Reps. Tom Kean Jr. (R-NJ), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Bill Keating (D-MA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Jared Golden (D-ME) were the ones who introduced the resolution.

The resolution “calls on the United States to immediately provide [ATACMS] to Ukraine in sufficient quantity to hasten Ukraine’s victory against Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression while still maintaining United States military readiness,” because “the expeditious provision of this critical weapon system will provide the Ukrainian military with a critical deep-strike capability they currently lack, disrupt Russia’s warfighting ability, and could hasten Ukraine’s victory.”

In a statement, McCaul argued that the administration was choosing to prolong the war, and by extension costing an unknown number of civilian lives, by not providing Ukraine with ATACMS.

“By not giving Ukraine the weapons it needs to win this war, the administration is prolonging the conflict and costing countless Ukrainian lives,” he said. “The success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive is directly tied to the military assistance provided by the U.S. and our allies. As such, it is extremely disappointing the administration is sitting on billions in remaining military funding with which it could immediately transfer ATACMS to Ukraine and, in turn, help their Armed Forces make a major difference on the battlefield.”

DOD announced a new long-term military package worth more than $2 billion on Friday that includes mainly air defense and ammunition capabilities. Long-range missiles aren’t included, and the administration has not signaled a change in its policy.

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The lawmakers’ resolution comes the same week experts have said Ukraine began its highly anticipated counteroffensive in which the nation’s military will look to recapture occupied territory in the southern and eastern parts of the country. Ukrainian and U.S. officials will not announce when it will start, if it has, or any other operational details in order to keep their plans secret.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that “all counteroffensive attempts made so far have failed” and that “it can be stated with absolute certainty that the counteroffensive has begun.”

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