Official: US aid package not to include ATACMS

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The U.S. aid package for Ukraine that President Joe Biden will announce on Sept. 21 will not include ATACMS long-range missiles, according to Amanda Sloat, the National Security Council's senior director for Europe, NBC News reported.

The latest tranche would however include a "very significant amount of air defense... which is the most critical capability that the Ukrainians need now," Sloat added.

The official said that future provision of ATACMS for Ukraine is not off the table, but they will not be a part of today's package.

Reuters reported on Sept. 20 that according to an unnamed U.S. official familiar with the matter, the upcoming tranche should include a new batch of cluster munitions, Avenger short-range air defense systems using Stinger missiles, TOW and AT4 anti-tank weapons, GMLRS rockets for HIMARS systems, Javelin anti-tank missiles, and other equipment.

The news outlet also noted that the package would not include ATACMS. The White House has so far resisted pressure from both Ukraine and U.S. lawmakers to provide the coveted missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers.

Ukraine's President Zelensky is scheduled to meet Biden at the White House later today as part of his visit to Washington. He has already met with senior members of Congress and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The president's visit to the U.S. capital comes just as the Biden administration is trying to secure Congress' approval on an additional $24 billion in funding for Ukraine.

Some U.S. lawmakers, namely from the Republican Party, grow increasingly critical of the level of support that Washington provides to Ukraine.

Zelensky has previously visited the U.S. in December 2022, meeting Biden and addressing Congress members.

Read also: Biden asks UN leaders to stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression

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