Ukraine used ATACMS missiles for the first time to strike airfields in Luhansk and Berdiansk - U.S. Media
On the night of October 17, Ukraine used American long-range ATACMS missiles for the first time to hit enemy targets. They were used to strike extremely effective targets at two airfields in the temporarily occupied Berdiansk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and Luhansk, which were used by the occupiers to concentrate combat aircraft.
According to American journalists, these missiles, which have been discussed in Washington for a long time, were recently secretly delivered to Ukraine "in small quantities". The Wall Street Journal and Politico reported this, citing sources, while Ukraine has not officially made any statements on the matter.
"Ukraine fired ATACMS missiles at Russian forces on Tuesday, the first time the U.S.-supplied weapon has been used in the conflict in Ukraine. A small number of missiles have been secretly shipped to Ukraine in recent days, and will bolster Kyiv's ability to launch long-range strikes against Russian forces during a crucial phase of its counteroffensive, according to sources familiar with the matter," the WSJ said.
A similar report, albeit in a shorter version, was made by Politico.
According to the WSJ, the ATACMS that Ukraine has allegedly already received have a range of about 160 km.
At the same time, Ukraine has not officially confirmed either the receipt or use of ATACMS. However, American journalists see some confirmation in the statement of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who, after a meeting of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Staff, thanked "those who are destroying the logistics and bases of the occupiers of our land on a large scale."
"We have results. I thank some of our partners: effective weapons, as we agreed," Zelenskyy said.
On the morning of October 17, it became known that the Defense Forces had struck at night at airfields in Berdiansk and Luhansk: the occupiers used them to deploy ammunition and front-line aircraft. In particular, in Berdiansk, they set up their main base from which helicopters and airplanes took off to attack Ukrainian soldiers on the front line.
In a few hours, the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported the preliminary results of the attack: the enemy lost 9 helicopters, a combat center, special equipment and air defense systems. They also managed to disable the runways. The invaders' losses in killed and wounded run into dozens.
In addition to the direct "demilitarization" and "denazification" of the invaders, this defeat has another important consequence. Thus, according to the spokesman for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Yurii Ihnat, the invaders' aircraft attacked Ukrainian soldiers in the south and east from a distance beyond the reach of Ukrainian air defense.
If Ukraine were to acquire longer-range weapons, it would force the enemy to keep its helicopters away from the front line. Therefore, even if shells were launched at the positions, the defenders would have more time to track and respond to enemy fire.