Thursday, May 23, 2024

Zelenskyy: US sending long-range Atacms missiles to Ukraine in latest military aid

HomeWARZelenskyy: US sending long-range Atacms missiles to Ukraine in latest military aid

In a turn that could reshape the Ukraine conflict, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy trumpeted the imminent delivery of a long-sought prize – U.S. long-range ATACMS missiles able to strike Russian forces up to 300 kilometers away. The tactical missile systems, which outrange the 165km versions previously supplied, have been a burning priority for Ukraine’s military as it battles Russia’s entrenched forces and buttressed defenses.

The path was cleared, Zelenskiy said, by U.S. legislation awaiting final Senate blessing that greenlights the supply of the powerful Army Tactical Missile Systems. He voiced effusive thanks to President Joe Biden after their call on Monday, calling out the American leader’s “support and leadership” amid Ukraine’s desperate fight to repel Moscow’s invasion now into its 790th grueling day.

The White House affirmed Biden’s vow to rush “significant new security assistance” Ukraine’s way swiftly after the Senate greenlights the aid bill. The long-range ATACMS, compatible with HIMARS launchers Washington has already provided, could hand Kyiv a possible edge against Russia’s deep-strike capabilities that have pulverized towns and cities across Ukraine.

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Yet the gains risk being fleeting given Russia’s remorseless attempts to grind Ukraine to a surrender. Shockwaves rippled from Kharkiv as a Russian missile sheared off half a 240-meter TV tower on Monday, part of a scorched-earth Russian campaign that Zelenskiy raged is calculated to make the 1.3 million-strong city “uninhabitable.” Ukraine’s military claimed it still controls Novomykhailivka village southwest of Donetsk that Russia’s forces said they captured over the weekend.

Embattled Ukraine embraced other lifelines this week too, as Britain’s Rishi Sunak unveiled his country’s largest-ever military support package. It includes 400 armored vehicles, 1,600 advanced weapons, millions of rounds of ammunition and an extra £500 million – taking total UK military aid to £3 billion this year.

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As ever, burden-sharing anchors the NATO allies’ strategy. EU ministers met in Luxembourg to mull how to reinforce Ukraine’s air defenses but stopped short of concrete offers of the U.S.-made Patriot missile batteries Kyiv deems vital, given allied reserves are low. Only Germany has pledged an extra Patriot battery so far.

The American relief could mark a hinge-point after months of scant movement in Russia’s muddled offensive. Some U.S. analysts believe the ATACMS could help undo Russian gains and threaten Moscow’s crimped supply lines, airfields and command posts previously out of range of Ukrainian missiles.

But the Kremlin’s serial brinksmanship also ratcheted up amid stark warnings from Moscow that its forces would destroy any longer-range rockets supplied to Kyiv near Russia’s borders. Weeks of drones and missile barrages on central and western Ukraine show Russia may now double down.

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One ally on NATO’s fraught Eastern Front is doubling down right back. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda stated bluntly his country was ready to host nuclear weapons if the alliance approved – a deterrence doctrine firmed up by Moscow itself remassing forces in Belarus and the Kaliningrad exclave nearest to Polish soil.

While decisive impacts remain unforetold, the U.S. ATACMS pledge injects Boris Boucher-like verve into Kyiv’s fight. For Ukraine’s forces and its people, long inured to Russia’s indiscriminate bombardments, the prospect of dishing out long-range punishment of its own may fortify morale and harden resolve against Vladimir Putin’s seemingly unstoppable war machine.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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