Ukrainian forces have said that they struck a Russian target in Crimea using ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems), which reportedly could be the first time the U.S.-supplied weapon has been used on the peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Telegram on Monday they had “successfully hit a strategic object of the air defense system on the western coast of occupied Crimea.” Ukraine did not specify further and the Russian defense ministry, which Newsweek has contacted has not commented on the claims.
Some outlets, such as the Russian milblogger Voenniy Osvedomitel, pro-Ukrainian X account Wartranslated and the British newspaper The Telegraph said it was the first use of ATACMS on Crimea, although this is not confirmed.
In September, the U.S. agreed to supply Ukraine with ATACMS, which Kyiv and some military experts had long been calling for. Their long-range allows Ukrainian forces to hit targets further away than rockets from the U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and M270 multiple-launch rocket systems.
Earlier in October, it was reported that Ukraine had used ATACMS for the first time to destroy Russian military helicopters deep inside occupied territory.
The Russian language Telegram channel Astra, which posts about the war in Ukraine, gave more details about Monday’s strike, saying that 17 Russian troops had been wounded and five vehicles damaged in the strike around 3 a.m. local time, near the village of Olenevka.
The Rybar Telegram channel, which is linked to Russia’s military, said “it was not possible to shoot down the missiles” and their launch site is still in question. One theory is that a modification of the MGM-140A with a cluster warhead and a range of 100 miles was launched from the Kherson region.
The channel also said that “a missile danger has been reintroduced over the peninsula” as it outlined a concerted attack from Ukraine on Crimea on Monday.
This comprised the launch of eight British-supplied Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles towards Sevastapol, two Neptune anti-ship missiles fired from the Odesa region, and drones, according to Rybar, which added all the missiles were shot down over the Black Sea by Russian air defenses.
“Crimea may come under attack again, especially considering the increased intensity of filming of various objects on the peninsula by Western satellites in the last three days,” it said.
The reports of Monday’s attack comes as Ukraine has stepped up its operations in Crimea, which Kyiv has vowed to recapture. Drone attacks and explosions have become a regular occurrence in the peninsula.
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed its forces downed two ATACMS for the first time on October 25, with Russian pro-war Telegram channels posting images they said showed part of a missile that purportedly hit a village near Luhansk. Kyiv has said these photos were inconclusive.
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