US to send more HIMARS to Ukraine — Analysis
Pentagon Chief says that Kiev will be receiving four more advanced rocket systems as part of the military assistance package.
As part of the next security aid package, four high-mobility artillery missile systems (HIMARS), will be sent to Ukraine by Washington Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“Later this week, we’ll roll out our next presidential drawdown package of weapons, ammunition and equipment for Ukraine,”Austin made these remarks while hosting an online meeting of the US-led Ukraine Contact Group.
“It will include four more HIMARS advanced rocket systems, which the Ukrainians have been using so effectively and which have made such a difference on the battlefield. And it will include more rounds of MLRS and artillery ammunition,”He added.
According to the Pentagon, once delivered, the new package will bring the total number of HIMARS in Ukraine’s possession to 16.
Last Friday, Ukraine’s defense minister, Alexey Reznikov, told the Financial Times that Kiev was confident the West would send more aid, including 300km-range munitions for the HIMARS. American rocket systems are a game-changer, Reznikov said.
Although HIMARS has the ability to fire guided rockets with a range up to 80km, it is also capable of deploying tactical ballistic weapons at a distance up to 300km. Washington stated previously that it will not provide Ukraine with missiles capable of reaching 300 km. It was afraid they could strike Russian territory and escalate conflict between Kiev, Moscow.
“I think it’s a step-by-step movement. We give them proof that we can use it with precision and sophistication and we get more, and longer range,” Reznikov stated.
However, according to the spokesman for the army of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Eduard Basurin, Ukrainian forces may have already received 300km-range HIMARS missiles. DPR troops have found pieces of munitions with a range of 110km to 120km, which meant that Kiev could have the 300km missiles as well, Basurin posited in an interview with Russia’s Rossiya 1 TV Channel on Tuesday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today the West’s persistence in pumping Ukraine with long-range weapons, including the HIMARS, has already made Moscow reconsider the goals of its military operation in the neighboring country. The weapons now reach beyond Donbass, and encompass several other Ukrainian areas, as the minister stated in an interview to RT and Sputnik.
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