US Sending More HIMARS Artillery to Ukraine
Just days after announcing a new billion-dollar weapons shipment, the White House announces $450 million more.
The U.S. is sending more rocket artillery, thousands of howitzer rounds, and patrol boats to help Ukraine defend key cities in the Donbas, the White House announced Thursday. The $450 million security assistance package includes four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS—truck-mounted weapons that can hit targets out to 40 miles.
The U.S. has already delivered four HIMARS to Ukraine. The new package pushes the total value of munitions, anti-tank weapons, helicopters, vehicles and protective gear donated by the United States to Ukraine since February past $6.1 billion.
As with previous packages, the round announced on Thursday did not include fighter jets or advanced air defenses, two kinds of weapons that a small group of Ukrainian Air Force officers spent this week pressing Congress to provide. Such weapons would help Ukraine counter Russian cruise missiles, the officers said.
The patrol boats will “help Ukraine defend its coast and its waterways,” administration spokesman John Kirby said at the White House on Thursday.
President Joe Biden leaves this weekend for the G7 Summit in Germany and the NATO summit in Spain. The conflict in Ukraine will be a critical part of both summits, as member nations address “new commitments to further isolate Russia from the global economy, target the Russian defense supply chain and continue cracking down on the invasion,” Kirby said.
In recent weeks, Russian forces have taken much of eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region. A key city, Lysychansk, is now in danger of falling to Putin’s intensified military offensive. Still, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense describes Russia’s advances as slow and costly. More than 34,000 Russian troops have been killed since hostilities began and its army has lost more than 1,500 tanks and hundreds of artillery systems, aircraft and helicopters, according to ministry officials.
“This is an area of Ukraine that both armies know well,” Kirby said. “They've been fighting over it since 2014. and it's largely a gunfight. It's largely about artillery. And what you're seeing now is movement almost block by block, street by street, I mean, much smaller movement of smaller-size units and smaller progress.”
This round of assistance includes:
- Four HIMARS.
- 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition.
- 18 tactical vehicles to tow 155mm artillery.
- 1,200 grenade launchers.
- 2,000 machine guns.
- 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats.
- Spare parts and other equipment.
Germany and the United Kingdom have also pledged to send their versions of the long-range artillery systems: Germany is sending three M270 Mittleres Artillerie Raketen System (MARS) launchers and Guided MLRS (GMLRS) rockets; the UK is sending three M270 MLRS launchers and GMLRS munitions.