The White House is planning to provide a new aid package to Ukraine when President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Washington, DC, on Thursday, a US official told CNN.
The package — based on existing drawdown authority — will include additional artillery, anti-armor, anti-aircraft and air defense capabilities that will better equip the country for an ongoing counteroffensive and beyond.
Zelensky “will be leaving the White House with a significant package of additional capabilities to help near- and long-term defenses,” this official said.
The package’s air defense capabilities are also expected to help Ukraine defend its skies ahead of a tough winter, with more strikes expected on critical infrastructure.
Notably, the package is not expected to include Army Tactical Missile Systems, known as ATACMS, that would allow Ukrainian soldiers the ability to strike longer-range targets.
“For us, that’ll be a loss for us, if we won’t be able to get that weapon which will protect us,” Zelensky said when asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer whether he would be disappointed not to receive those capabilities. “But it’s not disappointment. It will just be a loss.”
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that ATACMs are “not off the table,” but the agencies reviewing whether to provide the weapons have not reached a decision.
The US military has briefed the White House that while ATACMs would provide longer-range and longer-term defense capabilities, Ukraine’s more pressing needs during the counteroffensive are vehicles, mine-clearing equipment, and short-range anti-aircraft equipment to breach Russian defenses.