Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered some of their forces to focus on eliminating Ukraine’s long-range missile and artillery systems during his visit to a Kremlin-occupied territory earlier this week.

Shoigu instructed the Vostok battalion commander “to prioritize the defeat of long-range rocket and artillery weapons of the enemy with high-precision weapons,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday.

Moreover, Shoigu accused Ukraine of using its long-range rockets to target residential areas in Donbas and intentionally setting wheat fields and grain storage silos on fire. In retaliation, the Russian forces destroyed a High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) launcher and a transport-loading vehicle in the Donetsk region and struck a warehouse in Odesa containing Harpoon anti-ship weapons, the defense ministry said. However, both sides haven’t commented on those reported claims.

It is not, however, noted how much his order will change the current “demilitarization” campaign since the Russian troops have tried for months to destroy Western-supplied weapons and haven’t had much success.

Ukraine’s powerful western-supplied arms

Months after the flip-flop decision, the White House finally authorized and sent some of its state-of-the-art equipment from DoD inventories to Ukraine in June. The military aid package includes HIMARS and ammunition that can accurately hit targets up to 80 km; counter-artillery radars; air surveillance radars; Javelins and Command Launch Units; anti-armor weapons; 155mm artillery rounds; Mi-17 helicopters; tactical vehicles; and spare parts and equipment.

HIMARS In Action
HIMARS offers a multi-launch rocket system firepower on a wheeled chassis and carries a single six-pack of GMLRS rockets or one TACMS missile on the Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) 5-ton truck. It can also launch the entire MLRS family of munitions. (Screenshot from Lockheed Martin/YouTube)

A HIMARS is long-range artillery designed to shoot various missiles from a mobile 5-ton truck. So far, the US has sent eight advanced HIMARS long-range artillery systems with the promise of supplying four more. With this, America has provided around $8 billion in military aid to the government of Kyiv since the war broke out.

This advanced long-range artillery allowed the Ukrainian troops to strike Russia’s logistics centers, supply lines, and ammunition dumps kilometers off the front lines and a distance away from the aggressor’s counter-artillery attacks. It also paralyzed Russia’s artillery-dominated troops, who needed to move thousands of shells to the front daily.

On the other hand, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Ukrainian officials of “judgment day,” an apparent hint at Russia’s nuclear weapons, in response to the latter’s remark on possibly targetting annexed Crimea using the HIMARS.

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Aside from targeting high-precision weapons, Russian forces are also tasked with assaulting the remaining portion of Ukrainian-held Donetsk.

‘We need more weapons’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent the nation’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, to ask the US lawmakers for more weapons so they can protect and “stop this terror against Ukrainians.”

“I’m asking for something now I would never want to ask,” Zelenska appealed to the members of Congress. “I’m asking for weapons—weapons that would not be used to wage a war on somebody else’s land, but to protect one’s home and the right to wake up alive in that home.”

“…Today I want to address you as politicians and party representatives as well as mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, daughters and sons. I want to address you, not as a first lady, but as a daughter and mother. No matter what positions and titles we reach in our lives, first of all, we always remain part of our family… and we do everything to preserve it.”

Zelenska also emphasized that these contributions mean that “while Russia kills, America saves.”

“We are grateful, really grateful that the United States stands with us in this fight for our shared values of human life and independence. You helped us and your help [are] very strong. While Russia Kills, America saves.”

Before her address to Congress, Zelenska met with first lady Jill Biden at the White House and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department to discuss additional weapons packages and the mounting war crimes by Russian forces in her motherland, respectively.

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” on February 24, declaring war against Ukraine to ” demilitarize” the former Soviet country. Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as Donbas, were among the first Ukrainian states the Kremlin “liberated” earlier in the war, which they also officially recognized as independent republics two days prior.