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US secretly transferred ATACMS to Ukraine, Ukrainian Armed Forces used them last week

US secretly transferred ATACMS to Ukraine, Ukrainian Armed Forces used them last week Archive photo: The Ukrainian Armed Forces used ATACMS last week (facebook com inukraineofficial)
Author: Daryna Vialko

The United States secretly supplied Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles in March, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces used them against the Russians last week, according to Reuters and a Pentagon statement cited by CNN journalist Natasha Bertrand.

ATACMS was used to strike Crimea

The long-range missiles were included in a $300 million military aid package to Ukraine that US President Joe Biden approved on March 12. However, it is not known how many missiles were transferred in that aid package.

Reuters reports that the missiles were first fired in the early morning hours of April 17 at an airfield in Crimea, which was about 165 km from the Ukrainian front line.

What made the US transfer missiles to Ukraine

Russia's use of long-range ballistic missiles supplied by North Korea against Ukraine in December and January led to a change of mind in the United States.

Russia's attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine were also a factor in the change of opinion. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, explained that the United States had warned Russia about these things, but it ignored the warning.

Missiles were transferred secretly

In January, the US military began purchasing new missiles from Lockheed-Martin, so concerns about a decline in the US military's combat capability if ATACMS were transferred to Ukraine were allayed.

President Joe Biden met with his national security team in mid-February and agreed to accept the unanimous recommendation of his advisors to send the missiles to Ukraine.

The discussion included National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Brown.

Funding remained a problem, but in March they managed to find extra money and transfer the missiles to Ukraine. Reuters writes that Biden advised his team to include ATACMS in it but to do it secretly to preserve operational security and the element of surprise for Ukraine.

Pentagon statement

The US Department of Defense said that the ATACMS long-range missiles arrived in Ukraine earlier this month in accordance with President Biden's order to deliver the long-awaited missiles to Kyiv.

Pentagon spokesman Garron Garn said that Biden secretly approved the delivery of the missiles. They were included in the March aid package.

CNN's sources indicate that the new aid package is also expected to include more ATACMS.

Strike on Dzhankoy

Ukrainian troops recently struck an airfield in occupied Dzhankoy. The attack was confirmed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Later, Ukrainian intelligence reported on Russian losses after the Ukrainian strike. It was about air defense systems.

Then the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine published a video of the missile strike on Dzhankoy. And the media published satellite images of the aftermath of the strike on the airfield.