Ukraine Attacks Crimea With US-Provided ATACMS

By Dave DeCamp –

Russian officials said Tuesday that Ukraine targeted Crimea with US-provided Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), long-range missiles that the US secretly provided to Ukraine in March.

The ATACMS the US shipped to Ukraine have a range of about 190 miles, significantly longer than anything the US has previously provided. The US sent an older version of the ATACMS last fall that can hit targets up to 100 miles away and is packed with cluster bombs, which are notorious for killing and maiming civilians.

The governor of Crimea said that the ATACMS were shot down by Russian air defenses in the attack on Tuesday. The Russian Defense Ministry said that it shot down a total of six ATACMS but did not specify where.

US-supported attacks on Crimea always risk a major escalation as the peninsula is considered a red line for Russian President Vladimir Putin, something acknowledged by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier in the war. A US official told Reuters that Ukraine launched its first attack on Crimea using ATACMS on April 17.

Ukraine has been asking for ATACMS throughout the war, but the Pentagon previously denied the request because it said there wasn’t enough to spare. The US also initially denied the request due to concerns about escalation.

But as the war has dragged on, the US and its NATO allies have been less and less concerned about escalation. The reasoning appears to be based solely on the fact that up to this point, Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory haven’t provoked Russian retaliation against NATO.

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