Ukraine’s Zelenskiy expresses gratitude to Biden, says deal on ATACMS in place

By Thomson Reuters Apr 22, 2024 | 5:05 PM

(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday he expressed gratitude to U.S. President Joe Biden for support and leadership in a telephone conversation.

Zelenskiy, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said he noted in the conversation the role of House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson and House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries in securing passage of a major military aid bill to Ukraine.

Later, in his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said the legislation, still to be approved by the U.S. Senate and signed by Biden, clarified that Ukraine would be receiving the long-range ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems) it has long sought.

“In the agreement on ATACMS for Ukraine, all the details are in place,” he said. “Thank you, Mr. President, thank you Congress, thank you America.”

U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the ATACMS were among equipment that should be on its way to Ukraine this week.

ATACMS are long-range guided missiles. The White House last October confirmed that it had provided Kyiv with a type of ATACMS capable of hitting targets up to 165 kilometers (102 miles) away.

Zelenskiy also told Biden about “Russian air terror through thousands of missiles, drones and bombs” and noted a strike on a television tower in Ukraine’s second largest city of Kharkiv, which occurred minutes before their conversation.

The Ukrainian president also reported, in a post on the Telegram messaging app, that had outlined to a delegation of visiting U.S. members of Congress Kyiv’s most urgent defence needs, particularly enhanced air defence.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot)