Danilov: ATACMS exceeded Ukraine's expectations

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Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said the first batch of long-range Army Tactical Missiles Systems (ATACMS) provided to Ukraine "exceeded expectations," and attacks by Russian helicopters have decreased as a result of the missiles, Liga news outlet reported on Oct. 24.

"When we started receiving ATACMS, and the first batch that was there, and the application of the first batch — it exceeded all expectations. Keep in mind that after that the attacks decreased, as far as [attacks] by helicopters on our troops are concerned," Danilov said.

A large portion of Russian helicopters have also "escaped" from occupied Crimea, the secretary added.

Ukrainian forces used U.S.-supplied ATACMS for the first time on Oct. 17 to strike Russian military airfields in occupied Berdiansk in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Luhansk.

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, the strikes possibly damaged nine Russian military helicopters in Berdiansk and five more in Luhansk, but the extent of damage is still unconfirmed.

The U.S. has provided around 20 ATACMS to Ukraine, the New York Times reported on Oct. 18, citing two Western officials.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had long campaigned for the donation of these weapons due to their range, which would allow Ukrainian forces to strike Russian targets deep behind the front line.

Read also: Ukraine war latest: Zelensky vows full Ukrainian fire control over Crimea

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