Sources Reveal US Supplied Ukraine with Long Range ATACMS Missiles
The US secretly supplied Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles, as confirmed by two US officials. This comes after the Ukrainian military successfully attacked Russian airfields in eastern Ukraine, with the US believing the ATACMS missiles were used in the attack. The specific date of supply is unknown, but it was done secretly in an attempt to take the Russians by surprise due to public uncertainty over whether President Joe Biden would agree to send the weapons.
According to US officials, Ukraine covertly received US ATACMS missiles, a significant upgrade allowing its forces to target previously unreachable Russian positions.
This was confirmed after images showing the missiles within Ukraine became visible on social media platforms this Tuesday.
US sources revealed to CNN that Ukraine, equipped with the ATACMS some of which can cover up to 186 miles, already attacked Russia’s eastern Ukrainian air bases of Berdyansk and Luhansk. They destroyed several Russian helicopters, ammunition depot, and an air defense launcher.
The official timeline concerning when the US supplied these missiles remains unclear. The silent delivery was part of the strategy to catch the Russians off-guard amidst speculation regarding President Biden’s decision to send weaponry, an official stated.
Previously, the US has conducted secret arms transfers to Ukraine, including the HARM anti-radiation missiles in August 2022. Notably, significant weapons packages such as Patriot air defense systems and cluster munitions are usually announced.
Pentagon has directed all queries regarding the ATACMS to the Ukrainian military.
As CNN reported earlier, discussions surged last month to send the guided missiles to Ukraine. Fears of escalating the conflict by possibly attacking Russia have diminished, considering Ukraine’s responsible usage of other US-provided arms.
During a meeting with Biden, Ukrainian President Zelensky expressed the critical need for these missiles. The military’s effectiveness and their progress hinge on them, Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak stated.
President Biden reassured that he has cooperated with everything Zelensky requested during an aid package announcement excluding ATACMS during Zelensky’s US visit.
Currently, the furthest-reaching US weaponry available in Ukraine is approximately 93 miles. Ukraine also possesses UK-provided Storm Shadow missiles, reaching roughly 155 miles. The ATACMS are fired from HIMARS launchers, the same used for Ukraine’s existing Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles.
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