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Putin Calls U.S. ATACMS Missiles to Ukraine a ‘Mistake’

Dean Johnson

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday decried Washington’s supply of ATACMS long-range missiles to Ukraine as a “mistake” that would not fundamentally change the situation on the battlefield.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday his forces had used the U.S. Army’s M39 Army Tactical Missile System for the first time, though the United States had not yet publicly announced their deliveries to Kyiv.

Several Russian pro-war military bloggers claimed that ATACMS, which have a maximum range of around 300 kilometers (186 miles), were used to strike Russian-controlled airfields in southeastern Ukraine.

A U.S. National Security Council spokesperson later confirmed that they had supplied Ukraine with a type of ATACMS with a range of just 165 kilometers (102 miles). 

Putin told reporters in Beijing that supplying Ukraine with ATACMS missiles was “another mistake on the part of the United States.”

He argued that the new missiles would lead to “unnecessary casualties” and “prolong the agony” of Ukraine, which has been defending against Russia’s invasion for 20 months.

“What’s most important is that [the ATACMS] are not at all able to change the situation on the line of contact,” Putin said.

At the same time, the Russian leader admitted that the U.S.-supplied missile systems are “certainly damaging and pose an additional threat.”

Addressing claims that Russia has suffered a strategic defeat in Ukraine, Putin said, “If the war is lost, then why supply ATACMS? Let them take back ATACMS and the rest of the equipment.”

Putin urged U.S. President Joe Biden to travel to Moscow for talks and said he saw early signs of the Ukrainian leadership’s readiness for negotiations.

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