A U.S. official said leaders in Kyiv have ‘promised’ not to fire the long-range rockets at targets inside Russia
Photo: The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) that the US is sending to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian attacks Photograph: Tony Overman/AP
01 June 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News
One cannot help but wonder if future generations will one day remember 01 June 2022 as the infamous ‘day of no return’ in the US-backed conflict.
As has been quietly observed from the outset, the US has admitted that it lacks any real ‘chain of custody’ procedures in place to track any armaments, let alone the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
Although claiming a need to ‘level the playing field,’ it is perhaps high time for the media to address what might happen if these deadly weapons should fall into the ‘wrong hands’ or into the ‘right hands’ if troops were to decide they are not keen on surrendering.
James Porteous | Clipper Media News
U.S. to Send Ukraine Most Powerful Weapons Since Start of War
The United States is sending advanced rocket systems to Ukraine, the most significant weapons that President Biden has sent since the start of the war, fulfilling a longstanding demand from the Ukrainians and appearing to dismiss concerns that it would be seen by Russia as a provocation.
Mr. Biden said in a guest essay in The New York Times that the latest aid would help Ukraine “fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.”
President Volodymyr Zelenksy has swung between praising and chastising allies for their support, arguing that the weapons sent at the start of the war were not sufficient, and urging them to send longer-range and more powerful weapons to fend off Russian forces.
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, a weapon that can fire satellite-guided rockets, will enable Ukraine to lob attacks well beyond the range of its current artillery.
Even so, Mr. Biden and other administration officials emphasized that they were providing them to Ukraine to defend its own territory, not to attack Russia, and that they had decided against outfitting the system with longer-range rockets capable of flying 200 miles.
“We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia. As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow,” Mr. Biden wrote. “We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.”
European leaders earlier this week pledged $9.7 billion in financial aid to Ukraine, albeit with demands, in a two-day summit in Brussels.
The boost in Ukraine’s firepower would come too late for Sievierodonetsk, which had been the easternmost city under Ukrainian control. The head of Ukraine’s regional military administration, Serhiy Haidai, said late Tuesday that Russian troops had taken over most of the city. About 12,000 civilians, out of a prewar population of about 100,000, remain in the city, according to an aid group.
01 June 2022 | AFP via The Guardian
Joe Biden has announced the US will send advanced missile systems to Ukraine. The new weapon is the Himars multiple launch rocket system, or MLRS: a mobile unit that can simultaneously launch multiple precision-guided missiles.
Both Ukraine and Russia already operate MLRS, but Himars has superior range and precision.
What system will the US provide?
The M142 Himars system (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is a modernised, lighter and more agile wheel-mounted version of the track
The Himars that Washington is providing to Ukraine will have a range of about 50 miles (80km), a US official told reporters.
Himars units carry one preloaded pod of six 227mm guided missiles (the M270 carries two pods), or one large pod loaded with an Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) tactical missile. The US will not supply Ukraine with the ATACMS, which has a range of 300km.
With a small crew, the Himars can remove a spent pod and load a fresh one in minutes, without other vehicles helping. The crews will require some training.
The US military already has Himars units in Europe; and Nato allies Poland and Romania have acquired the systems.
Why are they valuable?
Himars will give Ukraine’s forces the ability to strike further behind Russian lines, and at distances better protected from Russia’s own long-range weaponry.
The GPS-guided missiles the Himars shoots have a range about double that of the M777 howitzers that the US recently supplied to Ukraine forces.
At roughly 80km it generally puts Himars out of range of Russia’s own artillery, while placing the Russian batteries at risk.
It also could threaten Russian supply depots, amid western belief that the Russian forces suffer logistical problems.
Some analysts have said Himars can be a “game-changer” in the war at a time when Ukraine forces appear to be struggling under Russian artillery fire.
But others say Himars will not suddenly turn the tables. “The Himars would even the playing field,” a senior US defence official said.
Why is Washington limiting the range?
The US president wrote in the New York Times that the advanced rockets will enable the Ukrainians “to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine”.
Yet the US plans to limit the range of the missiles it gives Ukraine to avoid them being used to hit targets deep inside Russia.
“We are not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia,” Biden said.
Since Russia invaded on 24 February, the US has been sensitive about taking any action to support Kyiv that might provoke Moscow to take the war beyond Ukraine’s borders.
That has included not overtly backing Ukraine strikes inside Russian territory. Several times Ukraine has used its own rockets, drones and helicopters to hit nearby Russian targets in neighbouring Kursk and Belgorod oblasts.
If the US provided ATACMS, they would theoretically have the ability to strike major Russian urban centres and military bases, including airfields from where attacks on Ukraine are launched.
“[The] Ukrainians have given assurances they will not use these systems against Russian territory,” a US official said.