Ukraine has confirmed that the US-donated High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) has now arrived. This comes after Ukraine had requested the west to replenish their supply of heavy weaponry with longer-ranged munitions to push the Russians back as the fighting rages on in the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov expressed his gratitude through a tweet sent out on June 23:
“HIMARS have arrived to Ukraine. Thank you to my 🇺🇲 colleague and friend @SecDef Lloyd J. Austin III for these powerful tools!” Summer will be hot for russian occupiers. And the last one for some of them.”
This delivery comes after Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak made a recent request through Twitter, where he pleaded to their Western allies to supply them with 1,000 155mm caliber howitzers, 300 MLRS, 500 tanks, 2,000 units of armored vehicles, and 1,000 drones.
HIMARS have arrived to Ukraine.
Thank you to my 🇺🇲 colleague and friend @SecDef Lloyd J. Austin III for these powerful tools!
Summer will be hot for russian occupiers. And the last one for some of them. pic.twitter.com/BTmwadthpp
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) June 23, 2022
This request was made public as the Ukrainians still continue to suffer under continued and intensified Russian shelling in the east, with the Ukrainian Government admitting that they have been outgunned in terms of artillery. The long-ranged nature of Russian artillery and the sheer number of shells they are firing per day has led to some 200 Ukrainian troops dying daily as reported by the Ukrainian authorities. The Russian forces are reportedly equipped with Smerch and Uragan MLRS that can hit Ukrainian targets from 50 to 180 miles away, whereas Ukraine only has howitzers that can accurately hit targets up to 15.5 miles away.
With the long-range, high-power HIMARS now in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will now have a significant answer to the Russian onslaught. The HIMARS, typically armed with 200-pound high-explosive warheads, is actually able to hit targets up to 190 miles away, however, the US decided that it was only going to send rockets with the system that can only reach targets up to 43 miles. This was done because the Ukrainians might give in to temptations to strike targets within the Russian mainland using the HIMARS, which could potentially be interpreted as an act of war by Russia as these are US-supplied weapons.
In response to the donations, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to increase Russian bombardments if the West were to send these HIMARS along with other long-range weaponry, stating that they would start bombing places they have avoided so far.
More HIMARS to Ukraine In New Military Aid Package
While the US had only initially sent 4 HIMARS to Ukraine, Kyiv will be receiving more of these systems in the near future. It was announced by the US Government last Thursday that it will be giving Ukraine an additional $450 million in military support to fend off the Russian invaders from advancing further in the east.
This new package is the 13th Presidential Drawdown of the Department of Defense stocks since August 2021. It notably includes 4 more additional HIMARS, with 36,000 rounds of 105 ammunition, 18 tactical vehicles for towing purposes, 2,000 machine guns, and 1,200 grenade launchers as per the Department of Defense’s statement. Furthermore, 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats and some spare parts will also be sent to Ukraine.
With this new military support package, the United States leads the military support effort by a huge margin, contributing over $6.1 billion to Ukraine since the war started last February 24th. If we include all security-related donations of the US to Ukraine since 2014, this number would go up to $8.7 billion, not including economic and humanitarian financial backing.
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) June 24, 2022
“As President Biden told President Zelenskyy when they spoke last week, the United States will continue to bolster Ukraine’s defenses and support its sovereignty, its territorial integrity,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby stated.
Along with the HIMARS, the United Kingdom has also pledged to donate an unspecified number of its M270 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Ukraine. It seems like the US and the UK have been talking behind closed doors to help out Ukraine as the US was also considering giving the M270 MLRS to Ukraine prior to the first delivery. The US also had to sign off on the M270 MLRS to be transferred to Ukraine as the system is US-made, and thus needs approval from the US.
🇺🇲@WhiteHouse has announced 4 additional HIMARS for Ukraine.
Good news. While waiting for them, #UAarmy did not sit idly by. The 🇺🇦 OTR-21 Tochka successfully carried out strikes on the ruscist’s ammunition warehouses.
Thanks to @POTUS
Glory to Ukraine! pic.twitter.com/QZVGvE3QBS
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) June 23, 2022
The two systems are notably very similar as the HIMARS is the wheeled version of the M270. With the HIMARS now in Ukrainian hands, they can now a have a formidable answer to Russian shelling that has been pummelling them down for weeks. More so, it also gives the Russians a taste of good old American firepower as they have experienced with the US-donated M777 howitzers.
More aid is to come Ukraine’s way ahead of NATO’s 2022 Summit to be held in Madrid, Spain to discuss new security realities in Europe. Expect that Western donations for Ukraine will also be the subject matter in one of these meetings, whether that be officially or unofficially on the agenda.