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In a first, Ukraine uses US-supplied long-range ATACMS against Russia: All you need to know



President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday said that Ukraine’s armed forces had deployed US-supplied Atacms long-range missiles for the first time in its war against Russia. In an evening address shared on social media, he praised their precision, though he did not disclose specific details about the time or location of their use.
Simultaneously, the White House officially acknowledged the delivery in a statement. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said, “We are confident that these ATACMS will significantly enhance Ukraine’s battlefield capabilities without compromising our (US) military readiness.”
Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, criticized Washington’s choice to provide Ukraine with ATACMS long-range missiles as “a serious error.” “The White House’s decision to send long-range missiles to Ukrainians is a grave mistake. The consequences of this step, which was deliberately hidden from the public, will be of the most serious nature,” he said in a statement.
Here are FAQs on US long-range missiles ATACMS:
What is ATACMS?
ATACMS stands for Army Tactical Missile System, a surface-to-surface guided missile that can hit targets up to 300 kilometers away. It is launched from a mobile launcher called M270 or M142, and can carry different types of warheads, such as high-explosive, cluster munitions, or earth-penetrating. ATACMS was first used in the 1991 Gulf War, and has since been deployed in conflicts such as Kosovo, Iraq, and Syria.
There are two main types of ATACMS missiles:
MGM-140 ATACMS: The MGM-140 ATACMS missile is the original version of the ATACMS missile. It has a range of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) and can carry a variety of warheads, including conventional, high-explosive, and cluster munitions.
MGM-164 ATACMS Block IVA: The MGM-164 ATACMS Block IVA missile is an improved version of the ATACMS missile. It has a range of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) and can carry a variety of warheads, including conventional, high-explosive, and cluster munitions. The MGM-164 ATACMS Block IVA missile also has a number of improvements over the MGM-140 ATACMS missile, including a more powerful engine, a more accurate guidance system, and a more reliable warhead.
What are the capabilities of ATACMS missiles?
ATACMS missiles are capable of delivering a variety of warheads to targets up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) away. ATACMS missiles can be used to strike a variety of targets, including enemy armor, artillery, air defense systems, and command and control centers. ATACMS missiles can also be used to conduct precision strikes on individual targets.
What are the limitations of ATACMS missiles?
ATACMS missiles are a powerful weapon system, but they also have some limitations. ATACMS missiles are relatively expensive, and they can only be fired from the M270 MLRS or the M142 HIMARS. ATACMS missiles also have a relatively long flight time, which means that they can be vulnerable to enemy air defenses.
Why did the US provide ATACMS to Ukraine?
The US decided to provide ATACMS to Ukraine as part of its military assistance to help Kyiv defend itself against Russian forces. The US has supported Ukraine with various weapons and equipment, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles, Patriot air defense systems, and cluster munitions. ATACMS was seen as a game-changer that could deter or damage Russian assets and infrastructure in the occupied territories.
How did Ukraine use ATACMS against Russia?
Ukraine used ATACMS for the first time on October 17, 2023, when it launched a surprise attack on two Russian airbases in Berdyansk and Luhansk, which are located in the regions controlled by the separatists. The attack destroyed several Russian helicopters, an ammunition depot, and an air defense launcher, according to the Ukrainian military.
What was Russia’s reaction to the ATACMS attack?
Russia condemned the ATACMS attack as a grave violation of the Minsk agreements, which are supposed to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russia also accused the US of escalating the situation and provoking a new war.
(With inputs from agencies)

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