The U.S. is in an "ongoing conversation" with Ukraine about the weapons they need, including Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
"When we're talking to the Ukrainians, whatever they put on the table is something we're going to look at, we're to consider," Blinken said in an interview on Friday with Scott Pelley. "We're going to give them our best judgment about what can be most effective for them."
The Ukrainian government has asked the U.S. to provide ATACMS, longer-range missiles than the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which the U.S. has already sent to Ukraine to assist its fight against Russia's ongoing invasion. Russia's Foreign Ministry threatened earlier this month that if the United States decides to supply Ukraine with longer-range missiles, it will cross a "red line" and become "a party to the conflict."
In his 60 Minutes interview, Blinken outlined 20 drawdowns of defense equipment the U.S. has already sent to Ukraine, beginning months before Russia's invasion earlier this year. The shipments included Stinger and Javelin missiles, and anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapon systems. This U.S. military aid, particularly HIMARS, has been "essential" to Ukrainian battlefield successes, according to commentary last week by Mary Glantz of the United States Institute of Peace, a government-funded research institute.
When debating sending additional weapons to Ukraine, Blinken said the U.S. takes several aspects into consideration.
"When we're thinking about this, when we're working on this, we're trying to do it in a comprehensive way, to make sure that, yes, they have the weapons they need, they know how to use them, they know how to maintain them," Blinken explained.
WHY UKRAINE IS IMPORTANT
When asked about the limits of U.S. support for Ukraine, Blinken said it is important for Americans to understand the stakes for the U.S. and beyond.
"Yes, this is about an aggression against Ukraine and about horrific things that are being done to innocent people. But it's also an aggression against the entire international system," Blinken said. "If one country can get away with acts of aggression against another, if it can simply go in and decide, 'You know what? I'm going to take over that country. I'm going to change its borders. I'm going to grab its territory.' If that is allowed to happen with impunity, then what happens?"