- The official noted that Ukrainian forces are conducting potent counterattacks and have recently begun to employ HIMARS strikes to substantially hamper Russian advances.
- According to the official, giving Russia access to this capability also gives them a crucial message that Ukraine will be able to fight on.
As the beleaguered country struggles to stave off Russian advances in the Donbas, the United States is sending up to $400 million in more military hardware and supplies to Ukraine, including four more medium-range rocket launchers and ammunition.
A senior defence official told reporters in a briefing on Friday that the four extra M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, will increase the total number delivered to Ukraine to twelve. Since the conflict in the Donbas has mostly transformed into an artillery duel, the official claimed that Ukraine may particularly benefit from the first eight HIMARS. The official denied Russian accusations that two of the given HIMARS were destroyed and insisted that Ukraine still has all eight of them and is using them.
Three tactical vehicles, demolition bombs, counter-battery systems, and spare components are among the military supplies being supplied to Ukraine from U.S. stocks so that Ukraine can maintain and repair other systems that allies have recently sent.
Additionally, 1,000 rounds of precision-guided 155mm artillery ammunition will be included in the shipment. According to a defence official, this ammunition will help the Ukrainian military hit its targets more accurately while using less ammo overall. The officer declined to clarify whether these shells are guided Excalibur artillery rounds but noted that they had not previously been included in Ukraine’s security assistance packages.
HIMARS is a light, wheeled multiple rocket launcher, and according to Pentagon officials, Ukraine has requested one as a “high priority.” In contrast to other artillery that was delivered, HIMARS enables Ukrainian forces to strike targets with better range and precision, according to Colin Kahl, the U.S. undersecretary for defence policy, who made this statement to reporters last month.
Before the U.S. agreed to deploy the systems, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy publicly pledged to use HIMARS solely defensively and to refrain from firing into Russian territory in order to prevent the crisis from worsening.
According to the defence official, Russian accusations that HIMARS was utilised in attacks outside of Ukrainian territory are untrue, and Russian forces, capabilities, and logistical networks located inside Ukraine are “clearly legitimate targets.”
According to the official, the lengthy training process for Ukrainian forces on how to use the sophisticated HIMARS platform has been a constraint, which is why they were sent in batches of four at a time. The source did not specify how many Ukrainians have been trained thus far, but stated that efforts to train more people in HIMARS will continue.
The official did not specify how long their deployment may take, only that the HIMARS would reach the battlefield “rapidly.”
According to the official, Russian forces are well behind schedule and are only making “extremely incremental, restricted, hard-fought, incredibly expensive progress” in some areas of Donbas. The official added that Russian forces are in Donbas behind the battle lines but did not say specifically where they are thought to have been disrupted.
The official noted that Ukrainian forces are conducting potent counterattacks and have recently begun to employ HIMARS strikes to substantially hamper Russian advances.
The official declared, “We don’t regard this at all as Russia winning this battle. “Undoubtedly, they are failing to achieve their original goals. Although they have been severely thwarted, the battle is fierce.
To help Ukraine transition away from Soviet legacy systems, the U.S. has been in discussion with friends and partners about other systems that could be sent there, such as coastal defence capabilities.
The official stated that although Ukraine has gotten a lot of equipment from the US and other allies, its military has been utilising it at such a rapid pace that they require resources to maintain and repair such systems.
According to the official, giving Russia access to this capability also gives them a crucial message that Ukraine will be able to fight on.
The official said, “If the Russians believe they can outlive the Ukrainians, they need to rethink that.” “We have already shifted our focus to consider what the Ukrainians will need in the coming months and years.”