Earlier claims surfaced in the conflict-torn Donbas region of eastern Ukraine from the Russian Ministry of Defense, asserting that its armed forces have been victorious in destroying two High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) missile systems, both of which were manufactured in the US. The Russian Defense Ministry also announced that Russian forces had destroyed two weapons caches stockpiling rocket launchers for the highly-advanced HIMARS near the combat line in the southern village of Kramatorsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. The Donetsk region is the primary focus of Moscow’s military offensive following the capture of the Luhansk region over the weekend.

“Near the village of Malotaranovi in the Donetsk People’s Republic, two launchers of the US-made HIMARS multiple rocket launcher and two associated ammunition depots were destroyed by air-launched high-precision missiles,” Russian defense ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said.

The ministry released video footage showing them carrying out the strike. But news agencies could not verify if the strike was legitimate or not.

However, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, General Mark Milley refutes the news that Russian forces destroyed US-sponsored rocket systems in Ukraine.

According to the general, “To date, those systems have not been eliminated by the Russians, and I knock on wood every time I say something like that.” “And they (the Ukrainians) are very effectively using them, employing precision weapons against targets,” he added.

Shelling in Donetsk devastates towns. (Screenshot from source: Reuters‘ YouTube Channel)

These allegations were also negated by Kyiv aside from the US. On Wednesday, Ukraine’s general staff disagreed with Russia’s version of events. The Ukraine staff stated that the assertions were “fake” and said that the troops were utilizing the HIMARS we supplied to impose “devastating blows” on Russian soldiers.

Russian Order

Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov, and Sergei Shoigu. (Source: kremlin.ruCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Ukrainian military has been edging towards Russia because of Western high-tech weaponry, specifically the HIMARS. That’s why during an inspection of the Vostok (East) group of Russian invaders, Sergei Shoigu gave an order to the commanding officer to prioritize the destruction of long-range missile and artillery systems used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to hammer the Russian occupiers. 

“Army General Sergei Shoigu, noting the strengthening of the group’s strike capabilities, instructed the commander to prioritise the defeat of the enemy’s long-range missile and artillery weapons with high-precision weapons.”

Shoigu also issued orders to soldiers on all operational fronts in the combat area, telling them to remove the opportunity for the Kyiv authority to fire strikes on Ukraine regions held by Russia. The remark claimed that Ukraine uses long-range firearms to attack residential districts in eastern Ukraine’s pro-Russian separatist republics and “deliberately” sets fire to wheat fields and grain storage facilities. 

A Russian Telegram channel with still photos from the drone footage with photos from the scene shows that the vehicle hit was a semi-tractor trailer.

 

 

 

The vehicle presented by Russia below as a HIMARS is not a HIMARS but appears to be an Austrian Steyr 12M18 cargo truck. Make note of the front bumper shape, the air intake duct just above it, and the positions of the handholds on the windshield.

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The picture below from Lockheed-Martin is of an actual HIMARS which presents a very different front profile, even though they share the same standard front bumper.

 

The HIMARS Power

The precision-strike capabilities of the Ukrainian military will significantly improve because of the provision of US-made HIMARS systems. The Smerch, Uragan, and Tornado multiple rocket launchers were designed in the Soviet Union and employed by Russia and Ukraine. In comparison, the HIMARS has a more excellent range, considerably higher precision, and a far higher prevalence of fire than those other weapon systems.

The truck-mounted HIMARS launchers shoot GPS-guided missiles capable of reaching target opponents for up to 80 kilometers or 50 miles away, putting them outside the range of most Russian artillery systems. In addition, the mobile launchers are complex for the adversary to locate and can switch positions rapidly after launching to avoid being hit by airstrikes.

“HIMARS have hardly had any rest during the day or at night. Their potential has been used to the maximum,” Ukrainian military expert Oleh Zhdanov told the news agency. “The results have been impressive. Over 30 important Russian targets have been hit with high precision over the past two weeks.”

With the rocket launcher’s efficiency in war, on July 8, the White House made public an upcoming security package that will cost 400 million dollars to aid Ukraine. It will include four more HIMARS systems and ammunition for those systems, bringing the total number of these weapons in possession of the Ukrainian government to 16. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claims that Western countries have already committed to delivering 20 HIMARS to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Behind the weapons used to retaliate against Russian attacks, Ukraine’s greater power is the alliance. So why the bogus claims by Russia?  Well, they are probably being made entirely for the benefit of their own soldiers being pounded by these missiles and are also on Russian social media platforms bitterly complaining not just about the precision missiles, but the inability of their own military to hit back at them.