Pentagon unveils new Ukraine weapons cargo

The US is doubling the variety of HIMARS rocket launchers to be despatched to Kiev

The Pentagon will ship 4 extra rocket artillery programs to Ukraine as a part of the most recent $450 million navy assist package deal, the US authorities stated on Thursday. This could carry the full variety of HIMARS launchers despatched to Kiev to eight, the primary of which have reportedly already reached Ukrainian troops.

The most recent tranche of navy assist earmarked for Kiev consists of 4 extra M142 Excessive Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, appearing Pentagon press secretary Todd Breasseale confirmed on Thursday. Final week, Politico was the primary to report that Washington was considering sending the Ukrainians extra of the programs, “primarily based on Ukrainian instant wants.”

“The USA has now dedicated roughly $6.8 billion in safety help to Ukraine for the reason that starting of the Biden Administration,” Breasseale added.

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Kiev, nevertheless, has requested for a far higher amount of weapons – “ten occasions extra” HIMARS, Ukrainian MP Alexandra Ustinova had informed Politico, describing the 4 on their manner as “nothing.” 

The primary batch of 4 launchers have already arrived, Ukrainian Protection Minister Alexey Reznikov introduced on Twitter, thanking his “colleague and good friend” Lloyd Austin for the “highly effective instruments” and wishing dying on Russian troops.

On Wednesday, his ministry celebrated mounting a rocket launcher, allegedly from a downed Russian helicopter, onto a Mitsubishi pick-up as a makeshift answer – referred to as a “technical” – till the HIMARS arrived. 

Along with the wheeled US launchers, the UK is sending Ukraine three of the tracked M270 MLRS, which makes use of the identical ammunition. One other three items are supposed to come back from Germany, which has already despatched Kiev some PHz2000 self-propelled weapons as effectively. Although the US initially claimed that the launchers can be outfitted with “battlefield munitions,” the Pentagon’s coverage chief Colin Kahl revealed earlier this month that the US was offering Ukraine with heavy guided missiles, with a spread of 70 kilometers.

Final week, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Kiev wanted 300 MLRS launchers, 500 tanks and 1,000 howitzers to succeed in heavy weapons parity with Russia, solely to be rebuked by a protection official.

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In keeping with the Russian Protection Ministry, as of Thursday Ukrainian forces had misplaced a complete of 647 MLRS launchers, together with a number of of international manufacture that have been struck at warehouses in Nikolaev in a single day.

In the meantime, there have been unconfirmed reviews that two of the French-made CAESAR 155mm howitzers equipped to Kiev received captured by Russian or allied troops and dispatched to Russia for examine. In a Telegram publish on Thursday, the Russian weapons-maker Uralvagonzavod jokingly thanked President Emmanuel Macron for the “reward” and requested him to “ship extra” to be dismantled. Nevertheless, there was no official affirmation of the howitzers’ seize.