The American decision to discreetly provide Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles is “a serious error” which will have significant consequences, warned the Russian ambassador to the United States, while Kiev assured Tuesday that it had used these missiles successfully for the first time.
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On Wednesday October 18, Russia criticized the American decision to discreetly supply Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles, the use of which was confirmed on Tuesday by kyiv.
“The decision of the White House to send long-range missiles to the Ukrainians is a serious mistake. The consequences of this measure, which was deliberately hidden from the public, will be very serious,” reacted the Russian ambassador to the States -United, Anatoly Antonov, in a press release.
Ukraine used US long-range ATACMS missiles against Russia for the first time, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Tuesday. “The agreements that we concluded with President (Joe) Biden are being implemented. They are being implemented in a very precise manner: the ATACMS have proven themselves,” welcomed the Ukrainian president in his daily speech broadcast on social networks.
Volodymyr Zelensky, however, did not specify where or when his army had used these missiles.
Washington, for its part, assured that these ATACMS, with a maximum range of 165 kilometers, would “significantly boost” the capabilities of the Ukrainian military and “give them (…) the ability to strike in depth” the Russian rear lines.
Two Russian army airfields targeted in Ukraine
The official announcement of the arrival of the ATACMS in Ukraine comes at the same time as Russian sources assured that the Ukrainian army had used these long-range surface-to-surface missiles during the night from Monday to Tuesday.
Vladimir Rogov, an official of the administration set up by the Russians in the Zaporizhia region in Ukraine, had stated on Telegram that “M74 cluster submunitions from the American ATACMS missile had been found in Berdyansk”.
The official was referring to a Ukrainian nighttime strike on the airfield in this southeastern Ukrainian city. Indeed, earlier on Tuesday, Ukrainian special forces had claimed to have carried out destructive strikes overnight on two Russian army airfields, in Luhansk and Berdyansk, in areas occupied by Russia.
The operation called “Dragonfly” resulted in the destruction of takeoff runways, nine helicopters, an anti-aircraft system and an ammunition warehouse, according to a statement published on Telegram by Ukrainian special forces.
They did not broadcast images of these bombings or their results. The Russian army has not yet made any comments, but Moscow very rarely discusses its own losses.
The Telegram channels Rybar and WarGonzo, close to the Russian army, for their part, reported an attack using ATACMS missiles on an airfield in Berdiansk, without being able to specify the extent of the damage.
Difficult context for Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, without mentioning this specific case, welcomed earlier Tuesday the fact that his forces managed to strike Russian supply lines, at a time when they are engaged in a very difficult counter-offensive to liberate the occupied territories.
“I am grateful to those who destroy the logistics and bases of the occupier on our territory,” he said in a statement also thanking his Western allies who delivered “effective” weapons.
Russia said on Sunday that the Russian army is advancing on the Ukrainian front, including around Avdiivka, a town located in the Donetsk region. For Moscow, the capture of this city would be a symbolic victory, representing Ukrainian resistance to Russian attacks since 2014.
Ukraine has been insisting for months that Europeans and Americans increase deliveries of longer-range missiles in order to be able to strike the Russians far behind the front and thus disrupt their logistics chain.
But, so far, the West has only given a limited number of these munitions, fearing that Ukraine could use them to attack Russian territory directly as it already does with its own drones.
New Russian missile strikes on the town of Zaporizhia, in southeastern Ukraine, left two dead and three injured, local authorities reported on Wednesday.
With Reuters and AFP