Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirms the US government is sending another heavy-weight military package to Ukraine. This includes four additional rocket launchers that will supplement the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems Ukraine is using “so effectively.” Based on their analysis, these rockets have made a massive impact on the battlefield.
As of writing, the US has already sent 12 rocket launchers to Ukraine together with training assistance, according to Gen. Mark Milley.
The Ukrainian Ground Forces will use the HIMARs for command-and-control nodes, logistical networks, air defenses, and field artillery.
“We understand the urgency, we’re pushing hard to maintain and intensify the momentum of donations,” Austin said. “We’re seeing countries from all around the world continue to step up with critically needed systems and ammunition.”
Though Russia has progressed in the eastern Donbas region, Milley believes Ukraine can still retaliate.
“The Ukrainians are making the Russians pay for every inch of territory that they gain.”
“So the Russians are challenged not only to their front with the Ukrainian conventional forces, but they’re also challenged in [other] areas,” Milley said. “Ukraine has a very effective resistance network setup.”‘
In addition to the rocket launchers, an Air Force top general also hinted that they might be sending in fourth-generation fighter jets as well.
With new artillery, the US and its allies are also planning more comprehensive training programs for Ukraine, especially Ukrainian pilots. They wanted to create training that would allow them to help Ukraine’s aviation capacity in the long run. As for Ukraine, they’re hoping to move away from its dependence on Russian aircraft completely. So, they’re openly calling for donations of F-15s and F-16s.
Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles “CQ” Brown told Reuters that discussions with allies are underway.
“You want to build a long-term plan on how do you build their air force and the air force that they’re going to need for the future,” said Brown, a pilot himself.
Though there is the intention of creating a more robust training for Ukrainian pilots, there are still no definitive timelines nor scope on legislation discussed during the interview.
However, Brown is hoping NATO allies could also assist in the transition from Ukraine’s Soviet-era aircraft systems to the future.
“I feel pretty confident there are some of our NATO partners who have done that, can actually have lessons that they learned that can be helpful to the Ukrainians to help them figure out how to best make that transition,” Brown said.
Help is Speeding Up Progress in Ukraine
The administration and ally countries are starting to double down on artillery and training support for Ukraine. Five months in, the war has dramatically affected the global economy, which could be one of the US strategies to dampen inflation and other direct and indirect effects of the war.
Ukraine is not hiding any intent on asking for more weaponry, humanitarian and financial support. So far, the US has sent roughly $6.1 billion on military aid since February.
According to Pentagon, pulling Ukrainians out of battle and into training actually improves their gains against Russia. From a logistical point of view, there could be challenges, but an international conversation is happening to create opportunities for Ukraine to align its troops for training.
“You have to take your best artillery officers and enlisted personnel and send them back for a week or two of training. But in the long run, I think that’s probably the smarter move,” says Senator Jack Reed, who heads the Armed Services Committee.
Pentagon officials also added that there is rising concern about “hurting US combat readiness if the war continues for months or longer.” So, a swift end to the war is the ultimate goal. The faster the US can disseminate weaponry and additional support, the higher the possibility of ending the war in victory (for Ukraine).
With Russia taking a “strategic pause,” this could be an opportune moment to create a steady defense while Ukrainian forces are getting trained in Germany.
Russian troops have reportedly slowed down to rearm and reorganize after the massive firearms battle in the Luhansk portion of Donbas.
“The Russians are literally scraping the bottom of the barrel for troops and replacement equipment,” said Frederick B. Hodges, a former top US Army commander in Europe who is now with the Center for European Policy Analysis.
Analysts agree. The key to Ukraine’s survival and success is to slow down the Russian advance.
According to Britain’s defense secretary Ben Wallace, the first wave of Ukrainian soldiers arrived in Britain early this month to attend a training program covering first aid, patrol tactics, weaponry, and other skills.
“The UK’s response to evolving Ukrainian requirements considers both the equipment needed to mount and maintain an effective response to Russian aggression and the training required to use the respective capability,” said Air Vice Marshal Mick Smeath, the British defense attaché in Washington.
With this, many nations hope for speedy execution on Ukraine’s end in the coming weeks.