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WSJ: Ukraine fires missiles ATACMS at Russian forces for first time

With new secretly deployed American ATACMS missiles in recent days, Ukraine expands its offensive range and can now strike Russian forces from over 100 miles away.
ATACMS. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
WSJ: Ukraine fires missiles ATACMS at Russian forces for first time

On 16 October, Ukraine launched American-provided ATACMS missiles at Russian forces for the first time, marking a significant escalation in Ukraine’s long-range strike capability, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The WSJ said a “small number” of the missiles were secretly sent to Ukraine in recent days. The ATACMS will allow Ukraine to strike deeper into Russian-occupied territory. The missile models sent to Ukraine have a range of about 100 miles which helps Ukraine’s Forces during a crucial phase of its counteroffensive in the east and south.

“Ukraine has long sought ATACMS, a surface-to-surface missile that can strike well behind Russian lines and that can be fired by the Himars, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers, the US has provided the country,” the WSJ wrote.

On 17 October, Ukraine’s military said it “made well-aimed strikes on enemy [Russian] airfields and helicopters near the temporarily occupied Luhansk and Berdiansk” with the missiles.

Meanwhile, Russian Airspace Force-linked Telegram channel, Fighterbomber, called that attack a possibly most serious strike during Russia’s full-scale invasion. The channel claimed Ukrainian forces used ATACMS missiles to strike the Russian airfield where the Army Aviation was based. However, it was not confirmed then.

“It was one of the most serious strikes in the entire time of the SVO [“Special Military Operation” – a Russian euphemism for its invasion of Ukraine, – Ed]. If not the most serious. There are casualties in both men and equipment,” they wrote in the channel.

Although the US had resisted providing ATACMS to Ukraine over concerns about escalating the conflict and depleting its own stockpile, later, officials reportedly became more comfortable with the decision after assurances of adequate supply.

On 22 September, Biden told Zelenskyy that the US was willing to provide long-range ATACMS missiles, but didn’t announce publicly to avoid alerting Russia.

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