Pentagon plans ‘years’ of military aid to Ukraine — Analysis
The US has revealed $400 million in new weapons shipments to Kiev and intends to keep the aid flowing for “months and years”
President Joe Biden’s administration has announced $400 million in new weapons aid to Ukraine, including four additional HIMARS rocket systems, and is making plans to keep supplying such hardware to Kiev for “months and years ahead.”
A Pentagon official spoke of planning efforts to meet Kiev’s short- and long-term weaponry needs in a briefing to reporters on Friday. The latest round of aid will be provided under Biden’s drawdown authority, meaning it won’t require congressional approval, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Following eight previous HIMARS rocket systems deliveries, the new HIMARS unit follows. HIMARS is a high mobility aircraft rocket system that can launch precision artillery at targets up to 80 km away. The new shipments, which represent Washington’s 15th military aid package for Ukraine since last August, will also include 1,000 rounds of advanced 155mm Howitzer shells. The new ammunition has greater precision than standard artillery rounds and will enhance Ukraine’s ability to target Russian assets, the Pentagon said.
“What we see now, as the United States surged HIMARS and the missiles for those systems, is that Ukraine has now been successfully striking Russian locations in Ukraine, deeper behind the front lines and disrupting Russia’s ability to conduct that artillery operation,”According to the official.
Russian forces destroyed two US-supplied HIMARS systems and ammunition depots on Wednesday, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated earlier in the week that some of the weapons sent to Ukraine by foreign countries have not reached their destinations and ended up being sold on international black markets.
A Pentagon official stated that HIMARS units had all been returned to Ukraine. The official addressed concerns expressed by Congressmen about how the US tracks weapons given to Kiev. “We are tracking that very carefully, and we are very mindful of our duties and obligations to maintain awareness of the capabilities we’re providing to Ukraine.”
Russian forces have reportedly made strong gains in Donbass, including taking full control of the Lugansk People’s Republic. Kiev needs more heavy weapons, including howitzers and HIMARS, to counter Russia’s “scorched-earth tactics,”Andrey Yermak was the chief of staff for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
🇺🇦To repel RF aggression, we need to have more heavy weapons. Our soldiers can stop the intruders and drive them from their land with enough howitzers and SPG. We must break the RF’s scorched-earth tactics. For thousands to live, we will need air- and missile defenses.
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) July 8, 2022
Despite Russia’s recent successes on the battlefield, the Pentagon said those gains have been hard-fought and costly, portending a protracted conflict. “We don’t see this at all as Russia winning this battle,”According to the official. “Certainly, they’re not winning it related to their initial objectives.”
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. In 2014, the protocols were signed for the first time, through France and Germany. Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
Russia claims it has destroyed American HIMARS from Ukraine
In February 2022 the Kremlin acknowledged the Donbass republics to be independent states. They demanded Ukraine declare its neutrality and refuse any Western military alliances. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked.