Pentagon says ATACMS missiles intended to enable strikes on Crimea, pushing range of weaponry – NYT

Ukrainian forces will be able to use long-range ATACMS missiles received from the United States for more effective strikes against Russian troops in the temporarily occupied Crimea, unnamed high-ranking Pentagon officials told The New York Times.

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After several months of requests, Ukraine received a longer-range version of the ATACMS missiles, which can cover a distance of 190 miles – that's about 305 km.

US national security officials have said that much of the long-delayed arms supply should first focus on strengthening Ukraine's defenses.

The new weapon can penetrate deeper into the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine and target the supply nodes of the Russian military in the southeast.

According to one unnamed senior US official, the purpose of the long-range missile deliveries is to increase pressure on Crimea, the center of Russia's air and ground forces, "where, right now, Russia has had relatively safe haven."

On April 24, the Pentagon announced a package of military aid for Ukraine worth $1 billion. It was not officially reported that the package includes ATACMS, but the day before CNN wrote that these missiles would be there, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine and the United States had finally reached an agreement on long-range ATACMS missiles.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to the US president, confirmed that in February, Biden ordered to provide Ukraine with a "significant number" of ATACMS missiles. They were included in the aid package approved on March 12.

According to Reuters, the missiles were first used in the morning of April 17 and launched at a Russian airfield in Crimea. Voice of America, citing an unnamed high-ranking US official, reported that Ukraine also used ATACMS in the early hours of April 24.