President Joe Biden has decided to give Ukraine longer range missiles so that Kyiv can win the war with Russia before next year’s presidential elections, experts said.
Long range missiles are already being used by Ukrainian forces, with UK-provided Storm Shadows said to have been accountable for last week’s successful strike against Russia’s Black Sea Navy fleet headquarters in Crimea.
Ukraine has said that the landmark strike targeted “a meeting of the Russian navy’s leadership” and that “senior Russian navy commanders” were among the casualties.
Casualties are also said to include Col Gen Alexander Romanchuk, who is in charge of Russian forces in Zaporizhzhya, focus of the main thrust of Ukraine’s counter-offensive. He is said to have sustained “serious injuries”.
Reports that Black Sea Fleet commander Admiral Viktor Sokolov was also hit and killed could not be verified.
Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky has been begging for American ATACMS missiles since the Russian invasion more than 19 months ago.
Washington DC’s reluctance to provide them was part of a “just enough” strategy aimed at allowing Ukraine to win the war without risking the chaos that might ensue from a destabilised Kremlin following more ambitious attacks on Russian soil. But the need to counter Republican Party criticism of the billions of US dollars being spent to support Ukraine means that the war must be resolved – or at least heading towards a decisive Ukraine victory – before next summer’s US primaries.
And this accounts for the fact that every Ukrainian request, from tanks to F-16 fighter jets, has steadily been agreed to, albeit after months of delay.
READ MORE: Ukraine missile blasts Russia’s Black Sea naval HQ in Sevastopol
“Biden wants this war to be over before next year’s US elections. No one wants to be seen backing a losing side in an extensive war as they go into an election,” said Justin Crump, of the Sibylline strategic risk group.
The US-made Army Tactical Missile System boosts a range of almost 200 miles – 50 miles more than Storm Shadow. According to a US Army website, it is designed for “deep attack of enemy second-echelon forces,” and could be used to attack command and control centres, air defences and logistics sites well behind the front line.
President Biden publicly assured Zelensky on Thursday that strong US support for his war to repel Russian invaders would continue despite opposition from some Republicans
The White House confirmed a further $325m (£266m) of military aid for Kyiv.
Asked about the missile deal, the Ukrainian leader said simply: “We are discussing all the different types of weapons – long range weapons and artillery, artillery shells with the calibre of 155 mm, then air defence systems.”
However, he said that the latest weapons package was “exactly what our soldiers need now.”
UK holds ‘secret talks’ with Russia after Putin sparks nuclear fears[LATEST]
Poland’s Prime Minister tells Zelensky ‘Never insult Poles again’ in fiery rant[NEWS]
US ATAC missile system best ever chance of Russian collapse – Stuart Crawford[COMMENT]
Though the pressure is on to show tangible success, Ukrainian forces will soon be joined by US-built Abram tanks and F-16 fighter jets.
And they can still achieve much over the next few months.
“Both the ATACMS and impending arrival of iconic Abrams tanks are relevant this year,” said Justin Crump.
“Whole eastern areas like Donbas experience traditional Russian winters, Zaporizhzhya is in the south, and it doesn’t get that cold or wet in the winter. It’s also harder for defenders when trees are denuded of cover.”
He added: “Ukraine’s counter-offensive is making grinding progress. It is slow, it is deliberate, it is hard going and Ukrainian forces are meeting real resistance, but they are taking ground.
“The real question is how much is it costing Russia to hold this ground? Russia is paying a high price in blood to prevent Ukraine from gaining miles on a map.
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Source: Read Full Article