Former Ukraine defense minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk has shed light on US reluctance to provide ATACMS missiles to Ukraine. In an interview with Radio NV on July 14, he stated that the United States is exercising caution in providing Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles.
Zagorodnyuk, the Chairman of the Centre for Defense Strategies, noted that the United states adopts an evolving and unclear strategy.
“Moreover, we believe that they are excessively prudent, excessively conservative, excessively cautious. However, we maintain our stance, and that aligns with theirs,” Zagorodnyuk commented.
He asserts that the American authorities provide Ukraine with “fairly indistinct explanations” regarding their decision not to supply ATACMS missiles.
He noted that this issue is under White House deliberation, as reported by the media.
“We understand that the issue of escalation remains on the agenda. Politically, they do not desire that, as an increasing number of politicians perceive themselves to be in direct conflict with the Russian Federation. They are wary that ATACMS missiles might target locations within Russia’s territory, including previously struck ones in Crimea.”
Caution surrounding ATACMS missile transfer to Ukraine
Zagorodnyuk noted that there is no formal prohibition on the use of U.S. weapons in Russian-occupied Crimea; such restrictions solely pertain to the utilization of these weapons on Russian Federation territory.
Nevertheless, the Americans exercise caution about Ukraine’s plans to regain Crimea, considering potential exacerbating elements, Zagorodnyuk explained.
“At present, they are informally very cautious. Formally, they do not communicate any specifics to us, and they cannot raise any objections on this matter. However, they are cautious about Ukraine actively destroying Russian facilities in Crimea on a large scale.”
After the July 12 meeting with President Biden, Zelenskyy said no decision had been made regarding ATACMS missile transfer.
Meanwhile, upon departing from the NATO summit in Vilnius, Biden confirmed that he is contemplating the provision of ATACMS long-range missiles to Ukraine.