Ukraine pushing US to strike high-value targets inside Russia using ATACMS
    Article by Associated Press

    WORLD  23 June 2024 - 11:39

    Deteriorating battlefield conditions forced the US to permit Ukraine to use Western-supplied artillery to defend Kharkiv. 

    Weeks after the decision allowing Ukraine to use US-supplied weapons for limited strikes in Russian territory, the country is having some success in halting Russia’s new push along the northeast front, but military commanders are clamoring for restrictions on long-range missiles to be lifted, Caliber.Az reports citing the foreign media.

    Deteriorating battlefield conditions forced the US to permit Ukraine to use Western-supplied artillery and rocket systems to defend the eastern city of Kharkiv by targeting border regions where the Kremlin’s forces assemble and launch attacks.

    The impact was swift: Ukrainian forces pushed Russian positions back, won time to better fortify their own positions and even mounted small offensive actions.

    But commanders said that without the ability to use long-range guided missiles, such as ATACMS, their hands are tied.

    “We could target [Russian] brigade command points and the entire northern grouping, because they are located 100 to 150 kilometers from the front line,” said Hefastus, an artillery commander in the Kharkiv region who goes by his callsign. “Normal ammunition can’t get at them. With this kind, we can do a lot to destroy their centers of command.”

    The Ukrainian commanders interviewed spoke on condition that their callsigns be used, in line with brigade rules.

    The US expanded the scope of its policy to allow counterstrikes across a wider region. But the Biden administration has not lifted restrictions on Ukraine that prohibit the use of US-provided ATACMS to strike inside Russian territory.

    The US began providing Ukraine with long-range ATACMS earlier this year, but with rules, including that they cannot be used to strike inside Russia and must be used within sovereign territory, which includes land seized by the Russians.

    That prevents attacks on airfields and military infrastructure in Russia’s deep rear, underscoring a common Ukrainian complaint that Western allies anxious about potentially provoking Russia are undermining Ukraine’s ability to fight effectively.

    Ukrainian officials are pushing US allies to be able to strike particular high-value targets inside Russia using ATACMS, which can reach over 100 kilometres (62 miles).

    “Unfortunately, we still cannot reach, for example, airfields and their aircraft. This is the problem,” Yehor Cherniev, deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee on national security, defense and intelligence, said earlier this month. “That’s why we are asking [allies] to lift the restrictions to use long-range missiles against limited military targets in the territory of Russia.”

    Since late May, Ukraine has been able to target Russian troops and air defense systems 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the border in the Kharkiv region. Moscow opened a new front in the region on May 10, capturing village after village in a sweeping advance that caught Ukrainian troops unprepared.

    Caliber.Az

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