Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine has requested longer-range U.S. missiles, but now signals inside the Pentagon and State Department are green, officials in Washington have told CNN, Politico and Reuters, among others. . What is still missing is President Biden’s signature.
The US government is considering supplying not only Atakum missiles, but also associated cluster munitions, Reuters (the only) news agency reported.
Ukraine already possesses American mortar shells equipped with cluster munitions that can have a range of up to 30 kilometers. Grenades release submunitions and smaller bombs close to their target. This makes them more effective than “regular” grenades, because they can destroy personnel, installations and command centers over a larger area.
Ukraine benefits from cluster munitions
The downside: Often not all bombs explode, which means they continue to cause casualties among civilians who handle them years after the date. Ukraine is making use of cluster munitions, especially against the Russians who have abandoned their entrenched positions. But they cause less damage in the trenches, where Ukraine is now ramping up force in its weeks-long counterattack.
The Russians pulled their command centers and depots further and further from the front to remain out of the reach of Ukrainian artillery. That is why Ukraine requests Atakum missiles. They are launched using the Himars facilities that Ukraine already possesses to launch GMLRS guided missiles with a range of up to 70 kilometers.
According to Reuters, the Atakms cluster munition not only reaches much further, but also contains far more submunitions than the cluster bombs Ukraine currently has: not 48, but 300 submunitions per missile. The United States is also considering supplying cluster munitions for the GMLRS missiles, which carry 400 sub-munitions.
Cross the red line
The United States has been skeptical about supplying Atakum missiles for a long time. Moscow could view the extradition as crossing a red line, because Ukraine could also use it to target targets in Russia.
But this fear has diminished. Ukraine already received British Storm Shadow missiles last May, which have a range of at least 250 kilometers. Kiev attacked targets in the Crimean Peninsula, but is committed to the agreement not to deploy them across the Russian border.
The Netherlands is studying new missiles for Ukraine
The Netherlands and other European countries are considering supplying Ukraine with long-range missiles: three hundred kilometers.
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