The US confirms it has sent long-range missiles to Ukraine

The unnamed sources inform the AP and Reuters news agencies.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed on Wednesday that a “significant number” of long-range missiles had been sent, and that more would be coming. He said Ukraine has committed to using the weapons only on Ukrainian territory, not against targets in Russia.

The sources say, however, that the rockets were used for the first time in the morning hours of April 17 against a Russian air base on the Crimean peninsula, 165 kilometers away. They are said to have been used on two occasions so far.

The ATACMS missiles were part of a $300 million aid package that President Joe Biden approved on March 12, the sources said. The Biden administration reportedly found the money when several of the Pentagon’s contracts became less expensive than expected and freed up funds.

The Pentagon acquired the ATACMS straight off the assembly line of Lockheed-Martin.

Great range

The sources also do not say how many rockets this first shipment included – other than that the number was “significant”. This type of rocket doubles the range to 300 kilometers compared to the rockets that Ukraine received from the United States in October last year.

The military aid package that President Biden signed on Wednesday includes several missiles of this type.

One of the sources says that Russia’s systematic attack on critical infrastructure in Ukraine prompted Biden to approve unanimous recommendations from military leaders and members of his own government in mid-February.

– We warned Russia about this, but they just continued, says the source. Russia used long-range ballistic missiles from North Korea in December and January, despite warnings from the United States

The US hesitated for many months to send long-range missiles to Ukraine. This was based on uncertainty about whether they would be used to hit targets deep inside Russian territory and thus contribute to an escalation of the war. This was the reason why the USA in October sent medium-range missiles with a range of “only” up to 160 kilometers.

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Risk

The sources say that the White House and military strategists have carefully considered the risks of supplying Ukraine with these missiles and decided that it is appropriate to send such equipment at this time.

Admiral Christopher Grady, deputy chairman of the defense staff, recently said in an interview with the AP that long-range weapons will help Ukraine knock out logistics centers and troop concentrations located some distance behind the front.

Grady would not specify which weapons he was talking about, but he added that such weapons would be very destructive if used properly.

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2024-04-25 13:07:34

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