Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is embraced by US President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, 21 September 2023; Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - United States President Joe Biden has informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington will provide Kyiv with ATACMS long-range missiles, NBC News reported on Friday 22 September 2023, citing three US officials and a congressional official.

Kyiv has repeatedly asked the Biden administration for Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to help attack and disrupt supply lines, air bases and rail networks in Russian occupied territory.

But the White House did not disclose any decision on ATACMS when Zelensky visited Washington on Thursday 21 September 2023 for talks with Biden, even as it announced a new $325 million military aid package for Kyiv.

The White House and Pentagon declined to comment on the NBC report. The Pentagon also declined to say whether any promise of ATACMS were given to Zelensky during his meetings on Thursday at the Pentagon, saying: "In regards to ATACMS we have nothing to announce."

In Ottawa, Zelensky did not answer directly when asked about the NBC report, but noted that United States was the biggest single supplier of weaponry to Ukraine.

"We are discussing all the different types of weapons - long range weapons and artillery, artillery shells with the caliber of 155 mm, then air defence systems," Zelensky, speaking through an interpreter, told a press conference during an official visit to Canada.

"We have a comprehensive discussion and [we] work with the United States at different levels," he said.

Reuters had previously reported the Biden administration was considering shipping ATACMS to Ukraine that can fly up to 306 km.

ATACMS are designed for "deep attack of enemy second-echelon forces," a US Army website says, and could be used to attack command and control centres, air defences and logistics sites well behind the front line.

Biden publicly assured Zelensky on Thursday that strong US support for his war to repel Russian invaders will be maintained despite opposition from some Republican lawmakers to sending billions more in aid.

Zelensky thanked Biden on Thursday for the latest package of weaponry, including air defences, saying "it has exactly what our soldiers need now."