US President Joe Biden is expected to make a final decision soon on sending long-range missiles to Ukraine for the first time.
It's a major step recommended by the State and Defense Departments after months of Ukrainian requests, people familiar with the discussions told CNN.
Discussions about sending the long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems, also known as ATACMS, picked up substantially in recent weeks, the sources said.
No final decision to send the missiles has been made, officials said. But "there's a much greater possibility of it happening now than before," one official familiar with the discussions said. "Much greater. I just don't know when."
US officials had been reticent to send the long-range surface-to-surface guided missiles amid fears about escalating the conflict as they could potentially be fired into Russia itself. That concern has largely abated, however, since Ukraine has shown it is not using other US-provided weapons to attack territory inside Russia, officials said.
Ukraine has carried out strikes inside Russia, but those have been conducted using homegrown drones and weaponry, allowing Kyiv to stand by its commitment not to use American weapons inside Russia.
Currently, the maximum range of US weapons committed to Ukraine is around 93 miles with the ground-launched small-diameter bomb. The ATACMS, which have a range of around 186 miles, would allow the Ukrainian military to strike targets twice as far away.
The transfer of the ATACMS would mark just the latest instance of the US reversing itself on providing a system after months of pressure by Ukrainian officials. The Biden administration also resisted sending multiple-launch rocket systems, Patriot air defense systems, Abrams tanks, and cluster munitions — all of which were ultimately provided to Kyiv.