Kiev forces use new American weapons
Ukraine uses Atacms missiles for the first time and hits Russia’s air forces hard, destroying 9 helicopters in particular. The scenario of the war, which began over 600 days ago, could change as the eyes and spotlights of the world are focused on the Middle East and the clash between Israel and Hamas, with the siege of the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces in view of a probable ground operation.
The ‘other front’, the one involving Ukraine and Russia, has fallen into the background for 10 days, since Hamas carried out the extremely violent attack against Israel. Kiev and Moscow continue to fight and the conflict that began in February 2022 continues particularly in the south and east. It is from the eastern territories, occupied by Russia, that news arrives that outlines a new picture.
Ukrainian night strikes on Russian military airfields in occupied Luhansk and Berdiansk destroyed nine helicoptersan air defense system and an ammunition warehouse, as reported by Kiev’s Special Operations Forces, specifying that the raids also hit airport runways and “special equipment” stored on the premises.
According to the report, dozens of Russian personnel were killed and injured as a result of the operation. “Bodies are still being pulled from the rubble.” The Special Operations Forces are a branch of the Ukrainian Armed Forces that conducts reconnaissance missions and covert operations behind enemy lines.
It’s not just the lens that impresses. The weapons used to carry out the action are also a key element: Ukrainian forces today used US long-range missiles to shoot down nine Russian helicopters, after Washington secretly delivered them to Kiev in recent weeks. This was revealed by Politico, explaining that the delivery and use of the Atacms, Army Tactical Missile System, constitutes an important strengthening of the Ukrainian defense by the American administration, which for the first time provides Kiev with the ability to hit Russian targets well beyond its own borders.
Until now, President Joe Biden had been reluctant to deliver this type of weapon to the Ukrainians for fear of an escalation of the conflict, while the successful delivery indicates that the administration’s calculations have changed in the face of the slowness of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The Atacms delivered to Kiev have a range of about 160 km, according to the Wall Street Journal. They can change their trajectory in flight to avoid being intercepted. A power and precision of fire never before possessed by the Ukrainian army, which can accelerate in the counter-offensive that has been underway for weeks towards the East and South.
Produced by the US company Lockheed Martin, the Atacms are tactical surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs). Through GPS navigation systems, they can modify the trajectory in flight, and are compatible with the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) tracked vehicles and with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Himars), which the Ukrainian armed forces have been using for some time.
Lockheed Martin describes the weapon as a “long-range guided missile that gives operational commanders the immediate firepower to win battles in depth.”