Russia threatens US with ‘serious consequences’ after Ukraine fires first long-range ATACMS missiles. Russia expressed its dissatisfaction with the United States’ decision to provide long-range missiles to Ukraine for the first time, asserting that this choice heightens the potential for a direct confrontation between NATO and Moscow.
Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s President, confirmed that the Ukrainian military utilized US-supplied ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems) to strike two Russian military airfields, marking the first use of these long-range missiles.
Since Vladimir Putin initiated his invasion of Ukraine in February the previous year, Western supporters of Ukraine have hesitated to supply long-range munitions, fearing that deploying them against Russian targets could escalate the conflict.
Nonetheless, Ukraine has consistently argued for access to long-range missiles and other more potent equipment like fighter aircraft to safeguard itself against attacks originating from deep within Russia.
Ukrainian officials reported that the GPS-guided missiles used this week successfully eliminated nine military helicopters stationed at Russian bases in the eastern region of Ukraine.
Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, issued a warning to Washington on account of what he deemed the clandestine provision of weaponry.
He declared, “The consequences of this action, deliberately kept hidden from the public, will be of the utmost seriousness. Washington is pursuing a policy of complete disengagement in bilateral relations. The United States is pushing for a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.”
In his recent address, President Zelensky confirmed the utilization of ATACMS and praised their performance, giving credit to the United States for their assistance.
He stated, “Today, special thanks to the United States. Our agreements with President Biden are being implemented. They have performed very accurately. ATACMS have proven themselves.”
US Missile Delivery to Ukraine and Its Impact
The White House has also officially acknowledged the missile delivery. The National Security Council’s spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, commented, “We believe these ATACMS will provide a significant boost to Ukraine’s battlefield capabilities without risking our (US) military readiness.”
The Special Operations Forces of Ukraine claimed responsibility for the nighttime attack, which targeted Berdyansk and Luhansk.
Russia reported the loss of an air defense system, various equipment, and the injury and death of multiple soldiers in the attack. An ammunition depot in Berdyansk detonated until 4 am, while the detonation in Luhansk persisted until 11 am, as disclosed by the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces.
ATACMS are long-range guided missiles equipped with an advanced GPS system to precisely strike targets. They can carry cluster munitions to deliver numerous bomblets rather than a single warhead.
The version provided to Ukraine has a shorter range than its maximum capacity, possibly due to concerns regarding its use within Russian territories.
Simultaneously, Russia’s defense ministry reported intercepting 28 Ukrainian drone attacks over its western territories. Ukrainian forces launched drones over Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk regions and over the Black Sea, as stated in their official announcement.
Deadly Attack on Apartment Building in Zaporizhzhia
In a distressing incident, two civilians lost their lives, and four others sustained injuries when an apartment building was struck. The Russian and Ukrainian armies attributed blame for the attack to each other.
Yuriy Malashko, the governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, reported damage to eight apartment buildings due to what he claimed was a Russian missile attack. Search and rescue operations are currently underway at the site, according to Anatoliy Kurtiev, the secretary of the Zaporizhzhia city council.