New Ukraine aid package with long-range rocket systems expected this week

New Ukraine aid package with long-range rocket systems expected this week

The White House is expected to announce another aid package for Ukraine on Thursday that will include more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and more ammunition for howitzers provided by the United States, according to US officials.

The four HIMARS that the US announced in a previous support package they have arrived in Ukraine but have not yet been used.

In the battle in eastern ukraine, the Ukrainians have been outgunned by the Russians. The US first fielded howitzers and has since begun sending longer-range, more accurate HIMARS to enhance Ukrainian firepower.

Announcing the first shipment to include HIMARS, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl said: “HIMARS and their accompanying guided munitions will allow Ukraine to hit whatever targets it needs for that fight inside Ukrainian territory.”

Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battery Battalion, 14th Field Artillery Regiment, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, fire live rounds on a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in support of Ivy Mass at Fort Carson, Colorado, on June 8, 2022.

US Army photo by Spc. collin mackown

Ukrainian leaders assured the US that the systems would not be used to attack Russia.

Ammunition shipped by the US with the first shipment of HIMARS has a range of up to 70 kilometers, more than twice the range of M777 howitzers, but less than advanced long-range tactical missile systems (ATACMS) can reach hundreds of kilometers. .

“We didn’t assess that they need systems that span hundreds and hundreds of miles for the current fight, and that’s how we decided,” Kahl said earlier this month.

Since HIMARS are not used by Ukrainian forces, the US organized training lasting about three weeks for Ukrainians outside of Ukraine. The United States prepositioned the four HIMARS in Europe so that training could begin quickly, and the first 60 Ukrainians graduated from the training last week.

HIMARS are a priority for Ukraine which loses 100 soldiers a day. HIMARS provide higher-precision guided targets with extended range so the Ukrainians can hit high-value Russian targets from further away.

Russia is also taking significant losses despite its numerical superiority. The Russian Defense Ministry has not given casualty estimates for months, but Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said last week that Russia has lost 20-30% of its armored forces and has “suffered a huge number of casualties.” “

The fighting in the east has been described as a street-by-street battle that could take months, if not years. The United States has provided more than $5.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded Ukraine. Congress recently passed a $40 billion security package for Ukraine that will allow more aid shipments during the summer.

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