According to the Financial Times, the United States does not have enough tactical ballistic missiles to significantly assist Ukraine in its counteroffensive against Russian forces. The newspaper reported on Sunday that American officials, speaking anonymously, stated that they lacked the necessary quantities to make a significant impact on the battlefield. Furthermore, Washington is concerned that supplying Ukraine with such weaponry could escalate the conflict with Moscow.
The FT also cited experts who question whether tactical ballistic missiles would truly be effective in helping Kiev achieve a major breakthrough. Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation, argued that these rockets are not “magic wands” and are unlikely to overcome the obstacles of minefields and entrenched Russian defenses that Ukrainian forces currently face.
The article highlighted the potential limitations on US military aid to Ukraine, noting that it could shrink as the 2024 presidential election approaches. The possibility of Republican Donald Trump being reelected adds further uncertainty, as he has repeatedly pledged to end the conflict upon assuming office.
Germany, another country from which Ukraine has requested long-range missiles, appears hesitant to provide them. A survey released by ARD-DeutschlandTrend showed that 52% of respondents oppose such deliveries, while only 36% are in favor. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other top German officials have shown reluctance to hand over Taurus missiles, which have a range of approximately 500 kilometers.
In May, the UK became the first country to supply Ukraine with this type of weaponry, sending Storm Shadow cruise missiles with a range of over 250 kilometers. Last month, France followed suit by providing Ukraine with its own localized version of the Storm Shadow, named SCALP.
However, Moscow has strongly warned Western countries against arming Ukraine, arguing that doing so prolongs the conflict and involves them in a “proxy war” against Russia.
In summary, while Ukraine has requested tactical ballistic missiles from the US and Germany, the Financial Times reports that the US does not have sufficient quantities to make a significant difference, and Germany’s reluctance to provide long-range missiles is reflected in public opinion. Experts also question the effectiveness of such weapons in overcoming the obstacles faced by Ukrainian forces. Moscow has repeatedly voiced its opposition to arming Ukraine, warning Western countries about the consequences of doing so.