The United States secretly provided long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine as part of a $300 million military aid package approved by President Joe Biden on March 12, according to Reuters, citing an American official.

These missiles, with a range of up to 300 kilometers, were reportedly first used by Ukraine on April 17, when Kyiv struck a military airfield in occupied Dzhankoi, Crimea.

The strike, according to Ukraine’s military intelligence (HUR), destroyed or critically damaged four S-400 air defense launchers, three radar stations, an air defense equipment control point, and a Murom-M airspace surveillance system.

Kyiv Post has not been able to confirm these figures. However, multiple sources reported or published images of medevac helicopters operating around the Dzhankoi airfield, where Russia’s 39th Separate Helicopter Regiment is based.

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Politico, citing several officials from the Biden administration, reports that the long-range missiles have already been used twice. According to the sources, another strike was conducted “very recently” targeting Russian troops east of Berdyansk, near Mariupol.

According to ISW, geolocated footage from April 23 shows several attacks on the S-300 air defense system near Berdyansk.

Additionally, Ukrainian Mariupol Mayoral Advisor Petro Andryushchenko stated that Ukrainian forces struck Russian positions ten times in Babakh-Tarama (just east of Berdyansk) on the night of April 23 to 24, resulting in losses for the occupiers in both manpower and equipment. Ukrainian military officials have yet to confirm it. 

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Kallas said that training Ukraine’s forces on their territory would not be escalatory, adding that “Russia’s propaganda is about being at war with NATO; they don’t need an excuse.”

The source told Reuters that the Biden administration had long debated whether to supply missiles with such range to Ukraine.

The Pentagon was concerned about the potential depletion of the US military arsenal and feared that Ukraine might use these missiles to strike targets inside Russia.

However, Russia’s use of North Korean missiles, despite US warnings, and Russian strikes on critical Ukrainian infrastructure played a decisive role in changing Washington’s stance.

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“We warned Russia about these things. They have resumed their attacks,” a source told Reuters.

Biden decided to supply ATACMS missiles to Ukraine in mid-February, Reuters reports.

The White House believes that providing ATACMS could give Ukraine a significant advantage in the war, forcing Russia to relocate critical command posts and other vital facilities, including aviation, according to Politico.

In September 2023, the United States supplied Ukraine with ATACMS missiles, albeit with a shorter range, approximately 160 kilometers (100 miles).

In October, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Ukraine had used them for the first time, without specifying the targets.

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