US to Provide ATACMS Surface-to-Surface Missiles with Cluster Bombs to Ukraine
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In a significant development, the United States has reportedly made the decision to equip Ukraine with ATACMS surface-to-surface missiles armed with cluster bombs, according to foreign media sources.
The Financial Times (FT), citing reliable sources, disclosed on the 23rd that after extensive deliberations, the US government has committed to supplying ATACMS missiles to Ukraine. This decision came following a White House summit on the 21st, where US President Joe Biden assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of the provision of ATACMS missiles, as reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The ATACMS, an acronym for the US Army Tactical Missile System, boasts an impressive range of up to 300 km and can effectively target command posts, ammunition depots, and supply routes situated at the rear of Russia. Ukraine has been seeking hundreds of these missiles since last year; however, the United States initially expressed reluctance, fearing that such support could potentially escalate tensions with Russia. Underlying this hesitancy was the realization that these missiles could be utilized to launch attacks on Russian territory.
The US Department of Defense had previously voiced concerns that providing ATACMS missiles to Ukraine might diminish its own military readiness. Nevertheless, discussions have shifted in favor of supporting Ukraine with ATACMS missiles following President Biden’s recent decision. This change in stance is attributed in part to the fact that ATACMS missiles armed with cluster bombs offer a broader range of capabilities than those equipped with single warheads. Furthermore, the US military does not consider ATACMS as a primary weapon, which has also contributed to the positive shift in attitude.
Cluster bombs, being a payload composed of multiple small bombs within a single casing, have the ability to cause extensive damage over a wide area upon detonation. However, there are serious concerns regarding their use due to the potential for civilian casualties resulting from indiscriminate bombing and the persistence of unexploded ordnance, posing a threat to civilian lives even after the cessation of hostilities. To address these concerns, the “Convention on the Prohibition of Cluster Bombs,” an international agreement banning the production, use, sale, and storage of cluster bombs, was implemented in 2010. It is noteworthy that the United States, Russia, Ukraine, as well as South and North Korea, have notably refrained from becoming signatories to this convention.
Each ATACMS missile is packed with anywhere from 300 to 950 individual bombs. The WSJ predicts that the United States will initially provide Ukraine with a small quantity of ATACMS missiles within the coming weeks, with the potential for a more substantial supply in the future.
ATACMS surface-to-surface missile. random news
Foreign media reported that the United States has decided to provide ATACMS surface-to-surface missiles with cluster bombs to Ukraine.
The Financial Times (FT), citing sources, reported on the 23rd (local time), “After months of discussion, the US government decided to send ATACMS to Ukraine.” The previous day, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) also reported, “US President Joe Biden promised to provide ATACMS missiles to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House summit on the 21st.”
ATACMS is an abbreviation for US Army Tactical Missile System. It has a range of up to 300 km and can hit command posts, ammunition depots, and supply routes in the rear of Russia. Ukraine has requested hundreds of ATACMS since last year, but the United States has been negative about support, saying it could provoke Russia. The fact that ATACMS could be used to attack Russian territory was also a factor in hesitating the decision.
The US Department of Defense also expressed concern that providing the small amount of inventory to Ukraine could weaken US military readiness, but discussions are said to have shifted towards supporting Atacoms following President Biden’s recent decision. It is analyzed that the fact that ATACMS equipped with cluster bombs has a larger list than ATACMS equipped with a single warhead and that the US military does not consider it as a main weapon also influences positive discussions.
Cluster bombs contain hundreds of small bombs in one bomb, so when they explode in the air, the bombs inside overflow and cause damage to a wide area. There are concerns about civilian casualties from indiscriminate bombing, and unexploded ordnance may persist, threatening civilian lives even after the war has ended. Therefore, the ‘Convention on the Prohibition of Cluster Bombs’, an international agreement banning the production, use, sale and storage of cluster bombs, came into force in 2010, but the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and South and North Korea did not join.
One ATACMS contains 300 to 950 individual bombs. WSJ predicted that the US would provide a small amount of ATACMS to Ukraine within a few weeks, and then support a larger amount of ATACMS.
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