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Won't speed up Ukraine's counteroffensive: Expert's insight on ATACMS missile importance

Won't speed up Ukraine's counteroffensive: Expert's insight on ATACMS missile importance Ukrainian Armed Forces first employed ATACMS on the battlefield (Photo:

Today, Ukrainian military forces have employed American ATACMS missiles on the battlefield for the first time, which Ukraine had requested from the United States for a long time. However, it is unlikely that these missiles will have a significant impact on the Ukrainian counteroffensive, according to military expert Ivan Kyrychevskyi in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.

According to Kyrychevskyi, the missiles themselves cannot accelerate offensive or counteroffensive actions as the situation on the ground plays a significant role in this process.

"Missiles are not the tool that can speed up the pace of the offensive. When they talk about a slow counteroffensive, the problem is that the Russians have entrenched themselves well," he explained.

However, in Kyrychevskyi's opinion, Ukrainian military forces could use ATACMS missiles to target Russian headquarters and command posts. For example, around Avdiivka, where Russia is currently attempting to advance, or on other fronts.

"ATACMS is what we need right now to target Russian headquarters and command posts. In our case, the Armed Forces of Ukraine used ATACMS for the first time to strike at an airfield. And they did it successfully. Even the Americans didn't use them against airfields," the expert added.

However, the key question, according to Kyrychevskyi, is how many of these missiles the Ukrainian army has received, as there have been reports of "a few" rather than dozens. The number of missiles, as emphasized by the expert, will determine where and how they will be used.

"On the one hand, you can create infographics with an approximate striking distance, but in reality, everything will depend on how many missiles we were given. Because if we really received just a few missiles, there's no point in saying that we will now 'shoot down' all of the Russian aviation, and it will stop flying," he concluded.

Ukraine's use of ATACMS

In the early hours of today, Ukrainian Special Operations Forces struck at the airports in the occupied cities of Beryansk and Luhansk. As a result, almost a dozen helicopters, air defense systems, various other equipment, and enemy personnel were destroyed.

After the attack, Russian war correspondents published photographs of the remains of the missiles used to strike the Berdyansk airport. These remnants resembled parts of ATACMS missiles and had the appropriate markings.

On the evening of October 17, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed the use of ATACMS in Ukraine.

The path of ATACMS to Ukraine

According to The Wall Street Journal, a small batch of ATACMS missiles was sent to Ukraine by the United States in recent days. The United States has not officially confirmed the transfer of these missiles to Ukraine.

However, information about the approval of the transfer of a limited number of missiles has previously been reported by Western media.

For example, NBC News reported that during the meeting of the presidents of Ukraine and the United States in September 2023, the latter informed that the Pentagon would provide a small number of ATACMS missiles. However, this information would not be publicly disclosed.

For more information about the high-precision ATACMS missiles from the U.S. that are already in Ukraine, read RBC-Ukraine's article.