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

Written by Javed Iqbal

The White House is expected to announce as soon as Thursday a second aid package to Ukraine, which will include more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and more ammunition for the US-delivered Howitzers, according to US officials.

The four HIMARS, USA announced in one previous help package has arrived in Ukraine but has not yet been used.

In the fight in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainians have been overtaken by the Russians. The United States first sent Howitzers and has since begun sending the longer range and more accurate HIMARS to improve Ukrainian firepower.

In announcing the first shipment that included HIMARS, the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Politics, Dr. Colin Kahl, “HIMARS and the guided ammunition that comes with them will allow Ukraine to achieve any goal they need for that battle inside Ukrainian territory.”

Soldiers affiliated with A Battery 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery Regiment, 75th Field Artillery Brigade, fire direct shots in a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in support of Ivy Mass in Fort Carson, Colorado, June 8, 2022.

US Army photo of Spc. Collin MacKown

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

The ammunition shipped by the United States with the first shipment of HIMARS has a range of up to 70 kilometers, more than double the range of the M777 Howitzers, but less than the long-range Advanced Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) that can reach hundreds of kilometers .

“We do not consider that they need systems that go beyond hundreds and hundreds of kilometers to the current battle, and that is how we stuck to it,” Kahl said earlier this month.

Since Ukrainian forces do not use HIMARS, the United States organized training that takes about three weeks for Ukrainians outside Ukraine. The United States prepositioned the four HIMARS in Europe so that training could start quickly, and the first 60 Ukrainians graduated from training last week.

HIMARS is a priority for Ukraine, which is losing 100 soldiers a day. HIMARS provides more precision-guided targeting with extended range, allowing Ukrainians to hit highly valued Russian targets further afield.

Russia is also taking significant losses despite its numerical superiority. Russia’s defense ministry has not given an estimated loss for several months, but Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said last week that Russia has lost between 20-30 percent of its armored forces and has “suffered a huge amount of casualties.”

The struggle in the east has been described as a street-by-street struggle that can 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 approved one $ 40 billion security package for Ukraine which will allow for more relief shipments through the summer.

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Javed Iqbal

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