Pentagon Confirms Four More HIMARS On Way To Ukraine – The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that four additional HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) will be delivered to Ukraine imminently. It makes the total number of advanced rocket artillery launchers sent to Ukraine from the United States 12 and comes after weeks of speculation that the U.S. would indeed send additional rocket launchers to the country.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a virtual meeting with representatives of U.S. allies on Wednesday that the White House is always looking for new ways to provide “long-term” support for the “brave men and women of the Ukrainian armed forces.” And it seems more HIMARS fits in that criteria.
Austin said that the White House will “tailor” assistance to ensure that Ukraine has the “technology, the ammunition, and the sheer firepower to defend itself.”
Following the meeting, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said that Ukraine had successfully used HIMARS previously delivered to the country to strike Russian command and control nodes, as well as air defense and logistic network sites.
The news of additional HIMARS being sent to Ukraine also comes after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered generals to prioritize the destruction of long-range missiles supplied by the United States and NATO. If successful, it would give Russia the breathing room it needs to focus on fortifying its defenses on the borders of Luhansk Oblast while continuing its encroachment into Donetsk.
HIMARS to Fighters: U.S. Considering Sending Fighter Jets?
Besides HIMARS, senior U.S. officials also confirmed on Wednesday that the United States and NATO allies are considering sending fighter jets to Ukraine to assist with pushing back Russia as its military continues to make gains in the eastern Donbas region.
Gen. Charles QU. Brown Jr., the chief of staff of the United States Air Force, refused to speculate on the kind of aircraft that may be sent to Ukraine, but confirmed that discussions are ongoing about the best way to help Ukraine.
Brown confirmed that there are several options available if the U.S. and NATO decide that sending fighter jets is the best option, including jets made in the United States in Europe. Among the jets that could make the cut are the Swedish Gripen fighter jet, the French Rafale, and the European Eurofighter Typhoon.
Making that decision, however, will not be easy. The United States has held off on sending aircraft to Ukraine so far and even stood in the way of the delivery of Polish fighter jets to Ukraine in March over concerns that the Kremlin could consider it an escalatory act, or even an act of war.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.