The White House is working to transfer advanced anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, officials said amid fears that more powerful weapons capable of sinking Russian warships would escalate the conflict, Reuters reported.
Current and former U.S. officials and congressional sources have cited obstacles to sending more powerful, longer-range weapons to Ukraine, which include lengthy training requirements, difficulty maintaining equipment, or concerns that U.S. weapons could be seized by Russian forces, in addition to the fear of escalation.
But three US officials and two congressional sources said two types of high-powered anti-ship missiles, Boeing's Harpoon and Kongsberg and Raytheon Technologies' Naval Strike Missile, could either be delivered directly to Kyiv or through a transfer from a European ally that has there are rockets.
But there are several problems that prevent Ukraine from getting missiles. First, the limited availability of Harpoon shore-launch platforms — a technical challenge, according to several officials — because they are mostly sea-launched missiles.
Two US officials said the United States is working on potential solutions, including removing the launcher from the US ship.
Several countries will be ready to send Harpoon to Ukraine, the sources said. But no one wants to be the first or only country to do so, for fear of a Russian reaction if its ship is sunk by their arsenal's Harpoon, the US official said.