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Ukraine uses ATACMS: British intelligence assessed consequences for Russians

Ukraine uses ATACMS: British intelligence assessed consequences for Russians Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

For the first time, Ukraine deployed ATACMS missiles provided by the United States to strike airfields in Berdiansk and Luhansk. These attacks are likely to impact Russia's ability to both defend and advance on the frontlines, according to the British Ministry of Defense.

British intelligence emphasizes that they cannot yet confirm the final losses suffered by Russia following Ukraine's strikes. It is likely nine Russian military helicopters at Berdyansk and five at Luhansk were destroyed.

Intelligence sources explain that Berdyansk was being used by Russians as a primary Forward Operating Base on the southern axis providing both logistics and offensive/defensive capabilities.

"If confirmed, it is highly likely these losses will have an impact on Russia’s ability both to defend and conduct further offensive activity on this axis," the British Ministry of Defense believes.

It says that, given the current strain on Russian military production, the confirmed loss of any air frames will be difficult to replace in the short to medium term. Additionally, this loss will also likely create additional pressure on Russia’s pilots and air frames, already almost certainly suffering combat exhaustion and maintenance issues due to the unanticipated protracted campaign.

"There is a realistic possibility this strike will compel Russia to once again relocate its operating bases and command and control nodes farther from the front lines, increasing the burden on logistics chains," the summary states.

Ukrainian Armed Forces used ATACMS missiles for the first time.

On the night of October 17, Ukrainian military launched missile strikes on airfields in the temporarily occupied cities of Luhansk and Berdiansk.

Subsequently, American media reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had used American ATACMS missiles for the attack, a fact confirmed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Russian authorities have yet to disclose their losses in the aftermath of the attack.