US Provides Ukraine With Long-Awaited ATACMS


By Carla Babb

The United States has provided Ukraine with long-range tactical ballistic missiles known as ATACMS, U.S. defense department spokesman Major Charlie Dietz told VOA.

The ballistic missiles have a range of up to 300 kilometers, nearly doubling the striking distance of Ukraine’s missiles. 

The missiles were sent to Ukraine as part of the United States’ $300 million military aid package provided to Kyiv in mid-March, Dietz said. He would not confirm whether more ATACMS are being sent in the latest aid package. 

Two U.S. officials have confirmed to VOA that Ukraine used the ATACMS Tuesday night. Other media outlets are reporting that the weapons were first used last week on Russian targets in the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula. 

“We did not announce that we were providing Ukraine with this new capability at the time in order to maintain operational security for Ukraine, at their request,” a senior administration official said. 

The U.S. added more of the newer version of ATACMS to its stockpiles earlier this year, according to two officials. Once those were transferred into U.S. stocks, the military was able to send Ukraine some of the older version of its long-range missiles, they added. 

President Joe Biden directed his team to take this step following Russia’s procurement and use of North Korean ballistic missiles against Ukraine, the senior administration official told VOA. 

“ATACMS will help Ukraine deny Russia safe haven anywhere in occupied Ukrainian territory,” the official noted

Meanwhile, Russian officials reported fires Wednesday after Ukrainian drone attacks targeted parts of western Russia. 

Vasily Anokhin, governor of the Smolensk region, said on Telegram the fires were in the Smolensk and Yartsevo districts, but that there were no reported injuries. 

The governor of the Voronezh region, in southwestern Russia, said falling debris from a downed drone hit a house and sparked a fire. 

Russia’s defense ministry said its air defenses shot down a drone over Smolensk and two drones over Voronezh overnight. Russian forces also destroyed two more Ukrainian drones over the Belgorod region and three over the Kursk region, both areas that border Ukraine. 

On the Ukrainian side of the border, officials in Kharkiv reported Wednesday that Russia struck the city of Kharkiv with missiles, injuring at least six people. 

Oleh Synehubov, the governor in Kharkiv, said the missiles damaged three apartment buildings and five other buildings. 

VOA White House correspondent Misha Komadovsky contributed to this report.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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