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ISW: ATACMS long-range missiles threaten Russian rear ammunition depots

by Olena Goncharova October 18, 2023 8:30 AM 2 min read
A screenshot of the video shared by Ukraine's General Staff on Oct. 17, 2023, showing an ATACMS launch (General Staff/Telegram)
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The U.S.-provided Army Tactical Missiles Systems (ATACMS) will likely force the Russian command to choose between fortifying existing ammunition depots or further dispersing them throughout occupied parts of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest update.

The White House confirmed on Oct. 17 that the U.S. has sent ATACMS to Ukraine, after the Ukrainian military said it had used them for the first time on the battlefield.

The ISW analysts compare this development to the arrival of HIMARS to Ukraine in June 2022 that enabled Ukrainian forces to launch a significant interdiction campaign. This campaign supported counteroffensive operations in Kherson and Kharkiv oblasts and targeted Russian ammunition depots that were heavily concentrated.

The Russian command, in response, shifted away from using such concentrated depots. Instead, they extended their logistics through longer ground lines of communications (GLOCs), making the provision of ammunition and supplies to the front line more complicated. The introduction of ATACMS missiles is expected to present Russian forces with a similar challenge, according to the ISW.

"The Russian military has consistently shown it can adapt to new Ukrainian strike capabilities — but only after suffering initial and pronounced losses from Ukrainian capabilities Russian commanders realistically should have prepared for," the ISW concluded.

Ukraine war latest: Ukraine uses ATACMS for first time to strike airfields in Russian-occupied territory
Key development on Oct. 17: * Ukraine strikes airfields in Russian-occupied area with ATACMS missiles, destroys 9 Russian helicopters, other equipment, kills Russian troops * U.S. military reportedly says all 31 Abrams tanks arrived in Ukraine. * U.S. to provide nearly $700 million for moderniza…

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