- Ukraine’s defense minister thanked the US for a delivery of HIMARS long-range rocket systems.
- “Summer will be hot for Russian occupiers. And the last one for some of them,” he said.
- Ukraine lobbied the US for the HIMARS for months, and promised not to fire into Russia itself.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked the US for the delivery of long-range rockets which the country urgently requested to help even the odds in its fight against Russia.
“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,” tweeted Reznikov Thursday.
—Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) June 23, 2022
The US pledged four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)
The White House is expected as early as Thursday to pledge another four to be delivered soon, CBS News reported.
The weapons are more advanced that Ukraine’s existing artillery capabilities, and are able to hit targets as far as 50 miles away.
The Biden administration approved the transfer of HIMARS in late May, conceding to what had become Ukraine’s number one request for military help.
Russia reacted angrily to the move, declaring it an escalation which would be met with a harsh response.
As part of the deal, Ukrainian leaders promised to only fire on targets inside Ukraine, and not use them to fire beyond its border into Russia.
The rockets can hit targets at a distance of 50 miles, significantly further than the reach of most existing Ukrainian artillery systems.
Long-range weapons have become pivotal in Ukraine’s war with Russia, which is increasingly focused on artillery duels between the two armies. Longer range means being able to hit the enemy without getting hit back.
Images of the battlefield in the eastern Donbas region have shown the huge extent of shelling:
—Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) June 7, 2022
Before the delivery announced Thursday, US forces had bee training Ukrainian troops to use the HIMARS military to, said Colin H. Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, at a recent Pentagon briefing.
“These are precision guided systems with extended range,” he said. “For high value targets, that, that allows them to keep some of the pressure off of Ukrainian forces on the front, [which] we think these systems will be very useful.”