Ukraine expects Washington to continue supplying ATACMS missiles to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
On the air of the 1 + 1 TV channel, he was asked whether the provision of the first batch of ATACMS to Kyiv means that Ukraine will continue to receive them.
"It means, and this is a direct result of the agreement between Zelensky and Biden, which was reached in Washington during their personal meeting at the end of September," Kuleba replied, adding that Kyiv thanks "the United States for implementing the agreements" and for strengthening Ukraine's "firepower."
At the same time, responding to the TV presenter's remark that the supplied missiles were fired back in 1996, Kuleba said that this does not matter for Kyiv.
"It's not about a year, the main thing for us is that it shoots," he said.
- Dmytro Kuleba
- © Lev Radin
The diplomat also did not rule out that in the future, Washington may transfer modifications of ATACMS missiles with a range of 300 km to Ukraine. So far, the United States has supplied the Armed Forces of Ukraine with shells that can hit targets at a distance of up to 165 km.
"The distance, the details, the years – all this will evolve over time. The main thing is that we have unblocked this position. And we already have all the weapons we wanted at our disposal. Now we will talk about expanding the number, range, modification and everything else," Kuleba concluded.
"Take the Russians by surprise"
Recall that Kyiv for a long time asked the United States to transfer ATACMS missiles to the Ukrainian military, but Washington refused. However, against the backdrop of the failed counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the White House changed its position.
For example, on October 17, The Wall Street Journal reported on the "secret" transfer of ATACMS missiles by the United States to Ukraine, which had allegedly already been used in combat. On the same day, this information was confirmed by Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In turn, the Associated Press reported that the American long-range ATACMS missiles supplied to Ukraine are equipped with a warhead with cluster munitions, "which, when fired, open in the air, releasing hundreds of bombs." Similar data was published on October 17 by The New York Times, specifying that the Armed Forces of Ukraine received about 20 such shells.
The next day, CNN, citing U.S. officials, reported that the United States, by exporting missiles to Ukraine, wanted to "take the Russians by surprise."
The fact of the transfer of missiles to Ukraine was also confirmed by the White House. According to the head of the press service of the National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, the supply of ATACMS will increase the combat potential of Ukraine without compromising the combat readiness of the United States.
At the same time, some journalists pointed out that Ukraine received really outdated versions of missiles. For example, Bild journalist Julian Röpke wrote on the social network X (formerly Twitter) that Washington supplied Kyiv with ATACMS without GPS navigation units, since Russia's electronic warfare systems successfully cope with weapons using this system. Röpke clarified that the United States handed over to Ukraine an old version of the ATACMS with inertial guidance.
From the point of view of Dmitry Yevstafiev, a professor at the Media Institute at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, the United States may have many such missiles in its warehouses.
"The Americans have large stockpiles of these expiring missiles. Therefore, the United States can massively supply them to Kyiv," the analyst said in a conversation with RT.
"Prolongs the agony"
At a press conference in Beijing, journalists asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to comment on the transfer of ATACMS to Ukraine. According to the head of state, this step "harms" and "creates an additional threat."
"Of course, we will be able to repel these attacks. War is war, and of course I said they are a threat, that goes without saying. But the most important thing is that it is fundamentally unable to change the situation on the line of contact at all. That's impossible. This can be said for sure," the Russian leader said.
He also noted that the U.S. decision would only prolong Ukraine's agony.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin in China
"In this sense, there is nothing good for Ukraine either – it just prolongs the agony. They have launched the long-announced and expected next counteroffensive, now in the Kherson direction - there is no result yet. There are losses, but there is no result, just as it was in Zaporizhzhia and in other directions. Therefore, from this point of view, this is also a mistake," Vladimir Putin said.
The head of state also stated that the United States is increasingly involved in the Ukrainian conflict.
"They're getting sucked in – that's an obvious thing. And let no one say that they have nothing to do with it. We believe they do. Plus, against the backdrop of the Middle East conflict, all this is happening, all this is heating up the atmosphere," the president said.
The Russian Embassy in the United States also commented on the supply of weapons to Ukraine. According to the head of the Russian diplomatic mission, Anatoly Antonov, "the administration's encouragement of the excesses of the Zelensky regime makes the United States a direct accomplice to his crimes."
"Kiev is purposefully using supplies from Washington to strike civilian infrastructure and civilians," the diplomat said.
Antonov also stressed that the United States "continues to push for a direct clash between NATO and Russia."
"The consequences of this step, which was deliberately concealed from the public, will be of the most serious nature," the diplomat said.
"It won't fundamentally change anything"
Analysts, for their part, do not rule out that, despite Washington's statements about the supply of missiles with a range of 165 km to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Kiev could actually receive longer-range shells.
"It is impossible to believe the statements of American or even more so Ukrainian politicians. Yes, at the moment they admit that they only have missiles with a range of 165 km, but this does not mean that they have not received something longer-range. This may well be a disinformation campaign," Pavel Feldman, PhD in Political Science and associate professor at the Academy of Labor and Social Relations, told RT.
- © Carolyn Kaster
He also drew attention to the fact that the Kiev regime is actively using the supply of Western weapons for propaganda purposes inside the country.
"The task of the Ukrainian authorities and the media is to maintain morale among the population. Ukraine is a country where people are accustomed to relying either on external help or on miracles, but certainly not on their own strength. And in this case, the propaganda perfectly exploits this mental peculiarity of the Ukrainians, because the front demands more and more blood of Ukrainian fighters, and the nation must live on some kind of hope. It turns out that it is based on the expectation of the supply of more and more modern lethal weapons," Feldman explained.
In this regard, the political scientist recalled that earlier Kiev made a similar fuss about the supply of HIMARS and Western tanks, which in the end could not radically change the situation at the front.
"At the beginning of the NWO, the whole of Ukraine lived in anticipation of HIMARS deliveries, then it waited for German Leopard tanks and Patriot complexes. In the end, they got all this, but it did not change the situation in favor of Kiev. Ukraine is now waiting for further deliveries of ATACMS, F-16 fighter jets and German Taurus missiles," Feldman said.
However, experts believe that ATACMS is unlikely to meet the expectations of the Ukrainian side.
"Their supply, of course, will complicate the conduct of offensive and defensive operations by Russian troops, but it will not fundamentally change anything," Dmitry Yevstafiev is sure.
Pavel Feldman shares a similar opinion, calling the supply of these missiles "a deliberate step towards escalation."
"ATACMS is a serious weapon. Nevertheless, at the moment, it is difficult to imagine any weapons that can radically change the course of the conflict in favor of Ukraine. As for ATACMS, Russia has sufficient funds to neutralize the effect of their use," the analyst concluded.