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US could be preparing Ukrainians for ‘closer combat’ – media

The Pentagon’s latest weapons package to Kiev may indicate a looming counteroffensive, the Washington Post suggests

The Washington Post claims that the US might be supporting Ukraine’s preparations for the Russian counteroffensive. The Washington Post cited the Pentagon’s latest pledge of military aid to Kiev. 

Unlike previous shipments, which were more focused on M777 howitzers or multiple HIMARS missile launch systems (launchers), the $800 million new package contains 40 bomb-resistant weapons and launchers that have shorter ranges.

The MRAP armor is meant to protect personnel from explosions and bullets while the rollers attached to the vehicle’s front help create passages in mine fields.  

A senior US defense official, who spoke to reporters this week on the condition of anonymity, noted that the “Mine-clearing shows how Ukraine will require this kind of ability to advance their forces and retake territories.

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Washington pledges to send Kiev TOW missiles. These missiles can be mounted on heavy tripods or vehicles like Humvees. It allows troops to fire missiles quickly and leave without being retaliated on.  

This latest tranche includes Carl Gustav recoilless rifles as well as 2,000 rounds. That weapon’s range of a few hundred meters is far closer than the distance between Ukrainian and Russian forces along most of the frontline at the moment.   

Rob Lee, an expert on Russian military affairs and senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said that the composition of the latest weapons was not a sign of an impending counteroffensive. 

Washington may simply be using stocks to keep its arms supply current to avoid sending other advanced weapons into Ukraine. The US had already planned to retire MRAPs and Humvees as well as TOW missiles. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an economic element to this,” Lee concluded.

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