Russia is strengthening its western borders in connection with the supply of long-range missiles and other weapons to Kyiv. This was stated by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at a meeting of the joint board of the Russian and Belarusian defense ministries.
Shoigu in particular highlighted the supply of armored vehicles, air defense systems, high-precision missiles, cluster munitions to Ukraine by the United States and its allies, as well as “getting to the practical level” of the issue of transferring F-16 fighters.
“Their arrival is expected next year. In response to these threats, we are taking appropriate measures and strengthening our western borders,” Shoigu said (quote according to TASS).
On October 17, it became known that the United States had supplied Ukraine with ATACMS long-range missiles. On the same day, this information was confirmed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
On October 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian Armed Forces would be able to repel Ukrainian attacks with ATACMS missiles. In his assessment, US supplies of such missiles to Kyiv are harmful and create an additional threat. For Ukraine, in this situation, Putin believes, there are also no positive aspects – “it simply prolongs the agony.”
ATACMS weighs about 2 tons, the cost of one guided missile is about $1.5 million. Such missiles can be launched using HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), which the Ukrainian Armed Forces already have at their disposal. ATACMS maximum range is approximately 186 miles (300 km). As stated by German journalist Julian Roepke, the United States provided Ukraine with the original old version of the MGM-140 ATACMS missile with a classic inertial guidance system, but without GPS, since Russia successfully repels attacks from most GPS-guided weapons.