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US secretly sent long-range missiles to Ukraine after months of resistance

John Hamilton/US Army via CNN Newsource
Originally Published: 24 APR 24 13:17 ET
Updated: 24 APR 24 13:19 ET

(CNN) — The US delivered long-range missiles to Ukraine earlier this month that the Biden administration had previously refused to send following a directive from President Joe Biden, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Biden secretly approved the transfer of the long-range ATACMS missiles in February for use inside Ukrainian territory. The ATACMS missiles were then quietly included in the $300 million aid package announced on March 12 and ultimately delivered to Ukraine earlier this month, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Garron Garn.

“It was not announced that we are providing Ukraine with this new capability at the time in order to maintain operational security for Ukraine at their request,” Garn said, deferring questions about their use to Ukraine’s military.

More of the missiles are expecting to be included in the new military assistance package the Pentagon announced on Wednesday after Biden signed into law an aid package providing nearly $61 billion in assistance for Ukraine following months of delays in Congress.

Last fall, the US first sent Ukraine the mid-range variant of the ATACMS missile system, which can reach about 100 miles, while the longer-range version can reach as far as 190 miles.

Ukrainian officials have been asking the US in private and in public for the long-range missiles to target deeper behind Russian lines. American officials have previously resisted, citing supply issues and concerns about further provoking Moscow if they are deployed.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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