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Putin Is Enraged: HIMARS Kills Two of Russia’s Top Pilots

A HIMARS Multiple Launch Rocket System fires during a training session at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Fla., March 9, 2012. HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is the newest asset of the Florida Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Regiment.

HIMARS seems like a game-changer regarding the war in Ukraine, as it is pushing Russian forces to consider attacks from longer and longer ranges. And it seems Putin is paying a big price as these weapons keep doing serious damage: Two top Russian pilots were killed by HIMARS, a long-range rocket system supplied by the US, a report says.

Lieutenant Colonel Maksim Potyomin, 41, died in Donetsk on July 8 when his motorcade was hit by precision-guided rocket artillery, the MailOnline reported.

Another fighter pilot, Colonel Anatoly Stasyukevich, 54, is also believed to have died in the same attack.

While the news of their deaths was previously known, Maksim Potyomin’s father Alexey told Russian outlet this week that he believed his son’s death was caused by a HIMARS strike.

“As far as I know, the car with my son was hit by a missile from the HIMARS complex, which we have been hearing so much about lately… The resulting injuries were incompatible with life,” Potyomin told the outlet.

The pilot’s funeral took place on Sunday, where he was buried with full military honors, the outlet reported.

Both pilots were senior officers in the 1st Guards Baranovichi Red Banner mixed aviation division, said the Mail Online. It was the first unit to receive the Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighters in 2019 and includes a  helicopter-rescue detachment, according to reports.

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which first arrived in Ukraine last month, has begun to play a crucial role in the fight against Russia.

The US has given Ukraine 12 units so far, with another four on the way, according to Gen. Mark Milley.

A military expert told Insider’s Sinéad Baker that HIMARS is the “perfect” weapon due to poor Russian logistics forcing senior commanders into its range.

HIMARS are more advanced than Ukraine’s existing artillery capabilities and can hit targets as far as 50 miles away.

Ukraine said it had used the weapons to kill a Russian general, destroy 50 ammunition depots and strike a key bridge.

Russia reacted angrily to the US sending Ukraine the weapons, with Russian President Vladimir Putin threatening to escalate his bombing campaign in response.

The two fighter pilots are among the latest of dozens of senior Russian officers to be killed in Ukraine.

Alia Shoaib is a junior news reporter on the weekend team at Insider where this first appeared and is based in London.

Written By

Alia Shoaib is a junior news reporter on the weekend team, based in London.



  1. Bob

    July 31, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    There’s a very simple solution fof Mr. Putin: get the hell out of Ukraine! AND STAY OUT!!

  2. Ross Moore

    August 1, 2022 at 12:08 am

    Grow up Vlad. The world is not your oyster after all!

  3. Bob2

    August 1, 2022 at 6:58 am

    There is a very simple message that Ukraine and the rest of the world is sending accross to Putin.. Get the Hell out Ukraine and get prosecuted for your terrrorist actions. If there is one Nazi that needs to be denazified then its Vladimir Putin himself.. Putin–> Putout!! Numbnuts. Seems like a dinausaur suffering from Alzheimer and no one has the odacity to tell the fool!

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