US delivered new long-range missiles to Ukraine: Pentagon

Washington: The US shipped a new long-range missile system to Ukraine after the delivery received a secret sign-off, the Pentagon has said.

The precision weapons were part of an emergency military package for Ukraine announced by the US in March, but were not explicitly listed “in order to maintain operational security for Ukraine at their request”.

President Joe Biden had instructed his team to make the delivery after Russia procured ballistic missiles from North Korea and used them against Ukraine, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

The Army Tactical Missile Systems — known as ATACMS – will help Ukraine to deny Russia a safe haven anywhere in the occupied Ukrainian territories, the department said.

Several US media outlets, citing US government officials, reported that the missiles arrived last week and have already been used.

NBC News said Ukraine launched an attack on the occupied Crimean Peninsula last week and this week on the occupied city of Berdyansk in south-east Ukraine.

According to reports, further ATACMS missiles are also to be included in the military package announced by US President Joe Biden on Wednesday following approval by Congress.

The Pentagon did not explicitly state on Wednesday if the ATACMS missiles supplied were models with a range of around 300 kilometres or those with a shorter range.

Last October, Ukraine deployed ATACMS missiles that came from the US. At the time, these were models with a shorter range of around 165 kilometres. The Ukrainian government has been pleading for missiles that can strike targets much farther away.

IANS

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