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21 Dec, 2023 20:38

Russian shoots down US-made ATACMS missile – governor

Ukraine launched the US-made projectile towards the 19-km Crimean Bridge, Kherson Region Governor Vladimir Saldo says
Russian shoots down US-made ATACMS missile – governor

Vladimir Saldo, the governor of Kherson Region, announced on Thursday through a Telegram post that a US-made ATACMS missile launched by Kiev’s forces was intercepted over the Sea of Azov.

The missile was directed towards the 19-kilometer Crimean Bridge, which connects the Crimean Peninsula to mainland Russia and had been previously targeted by Ukrainian forces.

“The air defense forces personnel worked swiftly and precisely,” Saldo said in his post, adding that “another provocation by the Kiev regime has been thwarted.” The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the development so far.

In September, US President Joe Biden agreed to supply the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) to Kiev, overcoming earlier concerns that the weapon could escalate the conflict by allowing Ukrainian troops to fire deep into Russian territory. Ukraine reportedly received a version of the weapon with a range of about 100 miles (around 160km), less than the system’s maximum reach of 190 miles.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had persistently urged Washington to provide ATACMS, emphasizing its importance in striking deep behind Russian lines. Zelensky claimed the missiles were used for the first time on October 17, saying they had “proven themselves" to be effective.

In early December, Kiev submitted a comprehensive list of arms it seeks to receive from Washington in the coming months. The list includes more long-range ATACMS missiles, 155-millimeter artillery shells, F-16 fighter jets, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) air defense system, among other equipment.

Over the past few months, the Ukrainian military has intensified missile and drone attacks on Crimea. In September, they struck a shipyard in Sevastopol with cruise missiles, damaging two naval vessels. Later that month, the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet was targeted.

In October, dozens of Ukrainian drones were destroyed over the Black Sea and northwestern Crimea. In December, there have been several similar attacks on the peninsula by “drone swarms.” All of these incidents have been successfully repelled, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.