Ukraine War, September 22, 2023: Long-range Storm Shadow missiles make a difference in Ukraine; Biden approves ATACMS

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1) Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, “The West must arm Ukraine with ATACMS now. That way Putin will be defeated; The Nato nations have it within their power to crush the Kremlin despot. We must simply supply Zelensky with the weapons he needs,” The Telegraph, September 22, 2023 (4:10pm);

2) Joe Barnes, “Storm Shadow missile ‘tears open’ Black Sea Fleet HQ in Crimea; Attack on nerve centre of Russia’s navy shows Ukraine’s growing confidence,” The Telegraph, September 22, 2023 (4:10pm);

3) Karen DeYoung and John Hudson: “U.S. will send Ukraine long-range missiles, after delay; After nearly a year of rebuffing Kyiv’s pleas, the Biden administration intends to provide a cluster bomb variant of the Army Tactical Missile System, which would enable strikes farther into Russian-held territory,” Washington Post, September 22, 2023 (10:17 a.m. EDT, updated at1:40 pm);

4) Helene Cooper and Julian E. Barnes, “Zelensky’s Visit Reveals Strategy Divide Between Ukraine and U.S.; While the Ukrainian military remains focused on retaking territory in the east, American officials are pushing for a shift to the south,” New York Times, September 22, 2023 (Updated 5:16 p.m. ET);

5) Pjotr Sauer, “Ukraine mounts missile strike on Russian Black Sea fleet HQ in Crimea; Latest high-profile attack on Russian forces based on annexed
peninsula targets base in Sevastopol,” The Guardian, September 22, 2023 (17.02 BST).

6) Jonathan Sweet and Mark Toth, “For Ukraine, ‘defending’ means losing, p” The Hill, September 21: 2023 7(7:00 am ET);


Pjotr Sauer reported (at 17:02 BST) (2:02 EST), “Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, told reporters on Thursday that Biden would not provide ATACMS, but that he had not taken it off the table.”

Karen DeYoung and John Hudson reported, in contrast, at 1:40 pm EDT, that President Biden had approved send ATACMS with cluster munitions to Ukraine.

Biden may have changed his mind and given the green light for the ATACMS during his meeting with Volodymyr Zelinsky in the Oval Office on Thursday.

Amid reports that France is ceasing its shipment of long-range “Scalp” missiles to Ukraine on the ground that it doesn’t have enough to spare more for Ukraine, and concerns being expressed in Britain on similar grounds, the key decisions may be how many ATACMS the U,S, will deliver to Ukraine abd when, and whether Olaf Scholz of Germany will approve the shipment of German Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, and how soon.

Germany reportedly has ample supplies of the Taurus missiles (range up to 500 km). Scholz’ past excuse for not sending weapons systems to Ukraine, that the U.S. has not done so (e.g., Leopard II tanks) has apparently been stripped away by Biden’s decision to send the ATACMS.

What is unknown is whether Biden is controlling the supply of long-range missile and artillery rockets from all sources to keep the number small, in deference to his fears of Putin’s nuclear threats.

Significantly, the “small number” of ATACMS promised to Zelensky are of the kind that carry cluster munitions, not the kind that could carry a warhead that could destroy the Kerch Strait bridge linking the Crimea to Russia.

Which leads us back to a critical and unanswered question:

What understandings has Biden reached with Putin in order to assuage Biden’s fears of Putin’s nuclear threats?

And another question:

Are these fears and understandings, if they exist, subject to periodic review and potential revision in the light of developments on the battlefield.

The Trenchant Observer


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