A senior Ukrainian defense official on Wednesday reiterated his country’s request for the U.S. to provide ATACMS missiles and fighter aircraft to assist in the fight against Russia’s ongoing invasion.

Volodymyr Havrylov, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Wednesday to push ahead with the war with plans to call up to 300,000 reservists may spur partners such as the U.S. to provide Kyiv with more advanced weapons.

Lockheed Martin’s ATACMS

“I think after today’s announcement [by] Putin, we are closer to a political decision here in Washington, D.C., that Ukraine deserves and really needs to be provided with ATACMS and aircraft capability, like F-15 which we have been begging for several months [or] F-16 [or] something else. We are ready to send people. to train people and to use that equipment,” Havrylov said during an address at a National Defense Industrial Association conference in Austin, Texas.

While the U.S. has been delivering GMLRS rockets for the HIMARS launchers supplied to Ukraine, it has so far not committed to sending the longer-range ATACMS missiles.

Havrylov said Ukraine’s success using HIMARS to take out Russian logistics and ammunition depots has led Moscow to pull back those posts, out to ranges of 100 kilometers beyond the front lines. 

“If we have a capability to destroy the targets at depths of 200 kilometers it would be a total disaster for Russia. That’s why we’re asking for ATACMS,” Havrylov said. “[With] ATACMS, the U.S. administration still sees it as a threat in case of escalation. They see it as a threat in case we use it against Russian territory. We are arguing that we are not going to use it against Russian territory because we have a lot of targets on our occupied territory, including Crimea.”

ATACMS can reach out to 300 kilometers, more than three times the ability of GMLRS’ max range. Lockheed Martin [LMT] builds the two munitions as well the HIMARS launchers.

“It’s our assessment that the most relevant munitions for the current fight are the GMLRS and so we have prioritized getting the Ukrainians the GMLRS they need not only to hold in the East but to generate some momentum elsewhere in the country. It’s our assessment that they don’t currently require ATACMS to service targets that are directly relevant to the current fight,” Colin Kahl, U.S. under secretary of defense for policy, told reporters in August (Defense Daily, Aug. 24).  

During the same press briefing, Kahl confirmed that, while no final decisions have been made, the potential to deliver fighter aircraft to Ukraine in the future “remain[s] on the table.”

“As it relates to future aircraft, fourth-generation aircraft for example, even if we were to provide those now they wouldn’t arrive for years,” Kahl said at the time. “I can tell you that fighter aircraft remain on the table, just no final decisions have been made about that.”

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in July said the U.S. may be open to providing older platforms to Ukraine, including A-10 close air support planes.

“Older U.S. systems are a possibility. As Ukraine, which is pretty busy dealing with a ‘right now’ problem, tries to sort out what its future will be longer term, we’ll be open to discussions with them about what their requirements are and how we might satisfy them,” Kendall said during a discussion at the Aspen Security Forum.

Havrylov during his discussion reiterated additional capabilities Ukraine is interested in receiving, noting his view that winning the fight against Russia will require “technological superiority.” 

“We have to be more advanced compared to Russia. In situational awareness, we have to know where the Russians are, up to the soldier. We have to be superior in artillery, in terms of accuracy,” Havrylov said. “We have to address the issue of drones, how to stop Russian drones from flying over our positions. We have to crush their air defense, which we already started a month ago thanks to the anti-radar missiles we received from the United States. We also have to be strong with electronic warfare and other things related to the tactical operations.”