Biden Threatens to Escalate Ukraine’s War with Russia

February 22nd, 2024 - by Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute

M57A1 Army Tactical Missile System fired from an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launcher

Biden Nearing Decision to Send
Long-range Missiles to Ukraine
Kyle Anzalone / The Libertarian Institute

The M57A1 Army Tactical Missile System missile is fired over the cab of an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launcher. New battle conditions call for the Army to have precision lethal and nonlethal fires that can be fired from land to produce effects in all domains, as joint, multidomain operations are expected to be increasingly common. (U.S. Army photo)

(February 21, 2024) — The White House is closing in on a decision to send missiles to Ukraine with a range of nearly 200 miles. The Biden administration is discussing the potential weapons shipment but lacks funding to finance the transfer. President Biden is pressing House Republicans to approve a massive war spending bill that includes $61 billion for Ukraine.

The US has provided Ukraine with short and medium-range missiles for its HIMARS missile launchers. Biden is now close to deciding to provide Kiev with the long-range Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) that can hit targets at 190 miles.

The potential change in White House policy comes after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “I just came here from a meeting with Secretary Blinken,” Kuleba told a small group of reporters in Munich on Saturday. “I spent a very good part of the time arguing in favor of ATACMS.”

The US official who spoke with NBC News about the White House discussions explained that ATACMS “would allow Ukraine to strike farther inside the Russian-held Crimean Peninsula.” Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014, and often responds to attacks on the Peninsula with massive attacks on Ukrainian cities.

A defense official told NBC News that the Pentagon could not send the arms without Congressional funding. The Senate passed a nearly $100 billion supplemental defense spending bill that included $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, and funding for Washington’s military build-up in the Pacific targeting China.

President Biden has pressed the House to pass the bill, but Speaker Mike Johnson allowed the body to go into recess. Even if House Republicans relent and pass the aid package, Kiev is struggling to field enough soldiers.

Ukraine has suffered recent losses on the battlefield, including Adviivka, the critical Donbas city. During the retreat, as many as 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers were captured or are missing.

Additionally, the West is struggling to produce enough weapons to send to Ukraine. The defense official speaking with NBC News admitted the Pentagon had a limited supply of long-range ATACMS.

“It took Europeans too much time to start ramping up or waking up or dusting off their defense industries,” Kuleba said. “We will pay with our lives throughout 2024 to give your defense industries time to ramp up production or new lines.”

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.