President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the US supply of long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, as well as their use. He reported this on his Telegram channel.
“Today, special thanks to the United States. Our agreements with President Biden are being fulfilled. They are carried out very accurately – the “attacks” have proven themselves,” said the Ukrainian leader.
Earlier in the day, CNN, citing two American officials, reported that the United States had secretly supplied Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles. Sources confirmed that Ukraine has already used ATACMS missiles, which have a maximum range of about 186 miles (300 km).
It is unclear when the US missiles were delivered, but officials say the US decided to send them “quietly.”
It is noted that the United States usually announces the supply of significant quantities of weapons to Ukraine. In recent weeks, when U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been repeatedly asked about the status of these systems, he has been evasive in his response that the U.S. has “nothing to announce.” This was a deliberate choice of words, officials said. Previously, U.S. officials were reluctant to send long-range surface-to-surface guided missiles to Ukraine for fear of escalating the conflict.
CNN clarifies that currently the maximum range of American weapons supplied to Ukraine is about 93 miles (150 km). In addition, Ukraine has UK-supplied Storm Shadow long-range missiles, which have a range of about 155 miles (250 km).
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.
On September 23, the Financial Times (FT), citing sources also wrotethat the US decided not to publicly announce the sending of ATACMS to Ukraine, so as not to “warn” Russian forces. October 1 at the Pentagon stated about readiness to send ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, but the transfer of weapons had to be approved by US President Joe Biden.
Russian authorities have repeatedly criticized the supply of Western weapons to Kyiv. The Russian Foreign Ministry, commenting on Washington’s plans to transfer long-range missiles to Kyiv, stated that the United States, with the help of Ukraine, is waging a war against Russia.