The $450 million aid package for Ukraine includes four more long-range missile systems
The White House on Thursday announced a $450 million aid package for Ukraine that includes four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) as the fight with Russia continues in Donbass.
The four HIMARS that the US announced in an earlier aid package arrived in Ukraine this week.
In the battle in eastern Ukraine, the Russians have the numerical advantage when it comes to firepower. To help Ukraine, the US initially deployed howitzers and has since begun deploying the longer range, higher accuracy HIMARS.
In addition to HIMARS, the package announced Thursday includes 36,000 rounds of ammunition, tactical vehicles, 2,000 machine guns and over 1,000 grenade launchers. The US has now pledged about $6.1 billion in aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.
In announcing the first shipment containing HIMARS, Undersecretary for Defense Policy Dr. Colin Kahl: “The HIMARS and associated guided munitions will enable Ukraine to reach any target they need for this fight within Ukrainian territory. ”
Ukrainian leaders assured the US that the systems would not be used to attack Russia.
Ammunition shipped by the US with the first shipment of HIMARS has a range of up to 70 kilometers, more than twice the range of M777 howitzers but less than long-range Advanced Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), which can reach hundreds of kilometers .
“We don’t anticipate that they’ll need systems that span hundreds and hundreds of miles for the current fight, so that’s what we’ve settled on,” Kahl said earlier this month.
Since Ukrainian forces do not use HIMARS, the US organized a training session lasting about three weeks for Ukrainians outside of Ukraine. The US prepositioned the four HIMARS in Europe so training could begin quickly, and the first 60 Ukrainians completed training last week.
The HIMARS are a priority for Ukraine, which is losing 100 soldiers a day. The HIMARS offer more accurate targeting with longer ranges, allowing the Ukrainians to hit valuable Russian targets at longer ranges.
Despite its numerical superiority, Russia is also taking significant losses. Russia’s Defense Ministry hasn’t given estimated casualties for months, but Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said last week that Russia has lost between 20% and 30% of its armored forces and “suffered an enormous number of casualties. “
The fight in the east has been described as a street fight that could last for months. if not years. The US has provided Ukraine with more than $5.6 billion in security aid since Russia invaded Ukraine. Congress recently approved a $40 billion security package for Ukraine this will allow further aid deliveries in the summer.