The fighting is concentrated in eastern Ukraine and the Donbas region, where the Ukrainian military is now able to look the Russians in the eye after receiving scores of artillery pieces.
American Howitzers Making a Difference
The U.S. military has been the single largest contributor of artillery guns to Ukraine after committing 90 M777 155mm howitzers and hundreds of thousands of 155mm artillery shells. The weapon systems have boosted the Ukrainian military’s long-range fires capabilities, allowing Ukrainian commanders to strike targets deep behind enemy lines.
When the Russian military repeatedly attempted to ford the Severodonetsk River last week, the Ukrainian military launched barrage after barrage of devastating artillery on the Russian positions, destroying approximately 80 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles.
“We do believe that the howitzers … are having an impact, particularly in Kharkiv. Now is that the only reason? I don’t think we would go that far to say that, but we do believe that the systems they’re getting — not just the U.S. systems but the systems from other countries — are absolutely helping them regain some momentum and to take back some territory,” a senior U.S. official said during a Pentagon press briefing.
The Ukrainian military has been using its newly acquired artillery pieces very effectively. According to the Ukrainian General Staff, an artillery barrage—presumably by M-777 howitzers—against the field headquarters of the Russian 810th marine brigade on Wednesday killed three and wounded 14 Russian officers, including the brigade commander, acting brigade chief signals officer, two battalion commanders, and one artillery commander.
“That is not to say that losses are not being sustained on both sides. They are, both in terms of forces but also in terms of equipment and weapon systems. It’s a real gunfight in the Donbas, literally, with artillery being exchanged every single day and the Russians [continuing] to fly airstrikes,” the senior U.S. defense official added.
Western Artillery to Ukraine
The 155 mm M777 towed howitzers supplied by the U.S. and other types supplied by ally and partner nations to Ukraine are having a big impact on the battlefield, a senior Defense Department official said at a Pentagon press briefing today.
But the U.S. military isn’t the sole entity that has been providing Ukraine with artillery pieces. The Ukrainian military has asked and has received long-range fires systems from several other NATO countries, including France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom has also committed 12 AS90 155mm armored self-propelled artillery pieces, while the French military will be sending its Ukrainian counterpart 12 CEASAR 155mm trucked self-propelled howitzers. Three more NATO countries are sending self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine. Italy, Belgium, and the Netherland have indicated that they are going to send Ukraine PzH 2000 SP 155mm self-propelled howitzers or M109 Paladins.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.