British intelligence predicts how ATACMS strikes on Luhansk and Berdyansk airfields will affect situation at frontline
Ukrainian attacks on Luhansk and Berdyansk airfields on the night of October 16-17 with ATACMS missiles will force Russia to move its operating bases away from the front line
The UK Ministry of Defenсe reports.
The intelligence service recalled that the Ukrainian military had hit several Russian helicopters and air defense systems at the airfields of Luhansk and Berdyansk.
"Although the extent of damage is currently unconfirmed, it is likely nine Russian military helicopters at Berdyansk and five at Luhansk were destroyed, with Ukraine claiming to have used US-provided long-range army tactical missiles (ATACMS) for the first time," the statement reads.
It is noted that the airfield in Berdyansk was used by the Russians as the primary Forward Operating Base on the southern axis, which provided logistics and combat support.
The ministry believes that if Russia's losses are confirmed, this could affect its ability to both defend itself and conduct further offensive activities in this area. It could also create additional pressure on Russian pilots and the air frames, which are almost certainly already suffering combat exhaustion and maintenance problems.
"There is a realistic possibility this strike will compel Russia to once again relocate its operating bases and command and control nodes farther from the front lines, increasing the burden on logistics chains," the intelligence service said.
ATACMS in Ukraine: what is known
On the night of October 16-17, Ukrainian forces successfully attacked Russian helicopters and airfields in Luhansk and Berdyansk.
Foreign media wrote that during this attack, Ukraine used for the first time against Russian troops the American long-range ATACMS missiles that the United States had secretly sent a few days earlier.
Later, the White House confirmed the transfer of ATACMS missiles to Ukraine. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that they would be used against Russian troops, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi demonstrated how Ukrainian defenders used them on the battlefield.
Later it was reported that Ukraine had received about 20 long-range ATACMS missiles from the United States. However, the Ukrainian army cannot use them to strike at Russian territory.
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin called the supply of ATACMS missiles to Ukraine a US mistake and noted that it posed an additional threat to Russia.