ATACMS: If Russia Was Losing The Ukraine War, Why Did The US Supply ‘Deadly’ ATACMS To Kyiv, Putin Quips

Russian President Vladimir Putin vehemently refuted claims that the Russian Federation is “losing the war” in Ukraine, deeming such allegations “ridiculous.” 

During a press briefing held after he visited China, the head of the Russian Federation stated in response to queries from journalists about US President Joe Biden’s views. 

In an interview with CBS, President Biden recently remarked, “Imagine what happens if we unite all of Europe and Putin is finally put down where he cannot cause the kind of trouble he’s been causing.”

In a somewhat ironic tone, President Putin questioned the US decision to supply Kyiv with rockets, particularly the Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).  

He pondered, “If Russia loses the war, why would [Washington] supply [Kyiv] with ATACMS missiles? Let them take back ATACMS and all other weapons, sit down to pancakes, and come to us for a tea party.”

“If the war is lost, what are we talking about? Why ATACMS? Ask them this question. Well, it’s ridiculous,” the Russian president added.

The Russian President also criticized the United States for deepening its involvement in the Ukraine conflict, considering it a mistake to provide Kyiv with long-range ATACMS missiles.  

An ATACMS being launched by an M270 (Wikipedia)

He added that he had provided Chinese President Xi Jinping with comprehensive information about Ukraine, highlighting that “external factors” and “common threats” bolstered Russia-China cooperation. 

Putin, about Washington’s decision to supply ATACMS, which Kyiv acknowledged using on October 17, asserted that this move extended Ukraine’s suffering. 

He stated, “Firstly, this, of course, causes harm and creates an additional threat. Secondly, we will, of course, be able to repel these attacks. War is war.”

Moreover, the Russian President pointed out, “But most importantly, it cannot fundamentally change the situation on the line of contact at all…This is another mistake by the United States.”

Russia has long maintained its willingness to negotiate, with the condition that Kyiv acknowledges the “new realities,” which essentially refers to Moscow’s occupation of over one-sixth of Ukraine.

ATACMS To Ukraine

Over a year since the war commenced, the White House resisted Ukraine’s requests for these long-range weapons. The apprehension mainly stemmed from the fear that Ukraine might employ the longest-range missile versions to target deep within Russian territory. 

However, this perspective has shifted, partly influenced by Britain and France’s recent provision of similar long-range missiles. Their deployment in combat did not elicit a substantial reaction from Russia, prompting a reassessment of the situation. 

A limited number of these missiles have already made their way to Ukraine, and the war-torn nation has commenced using them against Russian forces. 

Ukraine’s deployment of newly acquired American long-range missiles against Moscow on October 17 marked a significant shift in President Biden’s stance, as he had previously been hesitant to supply these weapons, citing concerns of potential conflict escalation with Russia. 

US officials disclosed that the Pentagon had covertly delivered the missiles in the last few days. Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has also verified the utilization of these missiles. 

Alleged wreckage of US-supplied Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS): Twitter

The missiles in question, known as ATACMS, were employed by Ukraine to target two air bases in areas under Russian control. 

The type of ATACMS missile sent to Ukraine, reportedly in limited quantities, is designed as a cluster munition, releasing 950 small bomblets capable of causing widespread damage. 

Ukraine’s special operations forces claimed that the attack caused damage to runways, destroying nine helicopters, an ammunition depot, an anti-aircraft missile launcher, and various military equipment. However, these claims could not be independently verified.

That being said, the version of the missile supplied by the United States has limited range. Yet, US Officials underscored that the missile’s reach was extensive enough to target most of the critical bases that Russia had relied on for air support and supplying their forces in Ukraine. 

These missiles, considered outdated due to an international ban, were deemed unlikely to be utilized in a conflict involving American forces by the Pentagon. Consequently, they were approved for transfer to Ukraine. 

Nonetheless, the authentic influence of this missile system on the battlefield remains ambiguous, given that previous Western-supplied weaponry, like tanks, has provided only limited advantages in a conflict that has endured for several months.