US secretly shipped ATACMS missiles to Ukraine – media — RT World News

Washington secretly sent Kiev an unspecified number of long-range ATACMS missiles last month, several US outlets reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed US government official.

The Army's Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), which have a range of up to 300 kilometers, are included in the $300 million military aid package approved by President Joe Biden on March 12, according to the official who spoke with Reuters, Politico and the US Department of Defense. The New York Times, among others.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ukraine used the missiles for the first time last Wednesday, targeting a Russian airfield about 165 kilometers (103 miles) from the front line.

On the morning of April 17, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said his forces attacked the air base in Dzhankoy, in Crimea. The Russian Ministry of Defense did not comment on this claim.

Zelensky has long called for long-range missiles. According to the unnamed official in the Reuters report, the Pentagon was initially opposed, but changed its mind after Russia used ballistic missiles allegedly supplied by North Korea and began targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

“We warned Russia about these things.” The official said. “They renewed their targeting.”

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Q. Brown have advised Biden to send the longer-range missiles, the official said.

The ATACMS systems were obtained from Lockheed Martin, not from the Pentagon stockpile, and were paid for by the United States. “savings” It was discovered in March, when several military contracts were reportedly delivered for less than the original bid value.

According to the official, Biden instructed his aides to include ATACMS systems in the package but keep them secret, in order to maintain Ukraine's security. “Operational security and the element of surprise.”

Ukraine received for the first time medium-range ATACMS Last September. The Russian army started quickly Shoot thembut, frustration Zelensky's plan to damage or destroy the Crimean Bridge.

He added: “This is another mistake on the part of the United States.” Russian President Vladimir Putin said Last OctoberExplaining that if Washington had refrained from sending the missiles, it would have been able to later put itself in a position of strength “good guy” For its attempts to prevent unnecessary losses.

With Russia upgrading its air defenses to intercept ATACMS systems, their arrival will not have a significant impact on combat operations, and will only lead to… “prolong the torment” Putin explained. “That's why it's wrong.”

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