A bipartisan trio of senators have called for the U.S. to bolster military support for Ukraine even more by sending ATCAMS long-range artillery systems and F-16 fighter jets.

Welcoming President Biden’s recent announcement about the delivery of Abrams heavy tanks, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Lindsey Graham (R-Tennessee), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) said even more advanced weapons systems were still needed to “erode Russia’s capability to continue fighting in Ukraine.”

In a statement released on Friday Jan. 27, they said: “While the tanks represent a tremendous upgrade in Ukraine’s military, we urge the Biden Administration and our allies to send more long range artillery, such as ATACMS, and fighter aircraft such as F-16s and MiG-29s.

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“The combination of tanks, fighter aircraft, and ATACMS will help Ukraine confront the upcoming Russian offensive and go on offense in both the East and the South in an attempt to further erode Russia’s capability to continue fighting in Ukraine.

“Let’s give the Ukrainians everything they need to win – now.”

As the months have passed, Washington and European nations appear to have increasingly warmed to the idea of giving Ukraine weapons that could be used for offensive purposes, not merely defensive needs – something that was difficult to imagine earlier.

In 2014, when Russia initially invaded Ukraine, Washington was ambivalent about sending Kyiv Javelin anti-tank missiles, which President Petro Poroshenko had requested when speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

Ukrainian World Congress Summit: Strategic Meetings and Discussions for Victory
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Ukrainian World Congress Summit: Strategic Meetings and Discussions for Victory

The objective of the Summit was to develop strategies that would enhance support for Ukraine and safeguard its interests amid unparalleled security and existential threats.

Today, the conversation has moved to shipping more tanks, missiles, and fighter jets. Immediately following Berlin’s decision to send Kyiv Leopard tanks earlier this week, a number of other countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Poland, announced their intentions to send tanks to Ukraine.

Countries falling into line together to express solidarity with Ukraine is intended as an outward sign, namely to Moscow, that the West’s support for Ukraine will not falter and that the West is ready to work jointly to thwart Russian aggression.

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Despite the increasing support for offensive weapons, some of the items topping Ukraine’s wish list have not been sent – including ATACAMS long-range missiles and F-16 fighter jets.

Malcolm Nance, who has worked in military intelligence for nearly 40 years and served in the Foreign Legion in Ukraine, explained that the ATACAMS are vital for Ukraine by comparing them to the HIMARS, which have been widely viewed as a gamechanger in the war. 

He likened the HIMARS or M270 multiple launch system to a surgeon’s scalpel that cuts the life and supply lines of the Russians and eliminates Russian troops with murderous accuracy.

“Many of these missions have killed hundreds of Russians at once,” Nance said. “However, the range of these systems is only about 100 kilometers. With the ATACAMS, the Ukrainians could fire on Russian points with that same amount of precision, but from about 350 kilometers away, plus a lot more fire power. It would open Russian positions to attack in every part of Ukraine.”

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The intelligence analyst highlighted that it “will be within Ukraine’s possibility to take out rail lines and bridges leading into Ukraine from Russia. Ukraine’s ability to wipe-out the Kerch Bridge would become realistic with the ATACAMS.”

An intangible benefit of the longer ranges of these weapons systems, is the “abject fear it would project into the hearts of Russian battle commanders. Using Ukraine’s incredible human intelligence and America’s geospatial precision – every Russian commander in Ukraine would become a target.

“It would allow for the rapid destruction of Russia’s fuel and ammo dumps and would completely change this war,” Nance explained.

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Comments (2)

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Steve Coil
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Just a minor detail, but Lindsey Graham (R-Tennessee) actually represents South Carolina in the US Senate.

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NEIL HUSSEY
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It's high time the USA gave the Ukrainian Armed Forces everything they need to finish off the Russian attackers. The Ukrainians have already proven to the western world that they have the training and intelligence to overwhelm the Russians and drive them out of Ukraine permanently. Let's get it done and move on to rebuilding Ukraine.

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