Skip to main content

Global update

The long-range missile turning the tide in Ukraine

An ATACMS missile being launched

With the world’s attention on Gaza, says Hamish de Bretton-Gordon in The Daily Telegraph, we may be overlooking “one of the most significant developments in the nearly two years of war in Ukraine”. A few weeks ago, the US government confirmed that it would supply Kyiv with the “Army Tactical Missile System”, or ATACMS – a form of long-range precision artillery. This high-tech kit, which can hit targets up to 300km away with “pinpoint accuracy”, is now in use on the battlefield: Ukrainian special forces said this week they had destroyed several aircraft at two Russian-held airfields deep inside occupied territory. Russia’s military bloggers called it “one of the most serious blows of all time” to the country’s air force.

“This could change the course of the war.” Russia will have to move its “key air assets” way behind the front lines, potentially placing its attack helicopters out of range entirely. Even the command posts will have to be moved back, rendering the “untrained, poorly armed and underfed” conscripts more isolated – and more likely to refuse orders – than ever. All this could “take the brakes off the counter-offensive”. If Ukraine’s tanks aren’t under threat from the air, they may be able to “break through the remaining Russian lines, and steam into Crimea”.