More HIMARS coming to Ukraine: The United States Department of Defense announced the latest military aid package on Wednesday, reaffirming the White House’s commitment to helping Ukraine defend against Russian invaders even as the Kremlin prepares to annex four regions in Ukraine.
In a statement, the Department of Defense announced $1.1 billion in further security assistance.
“Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced approximately $1.1 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). This USAI package underscores the U.S. commitment to continuing to support Ukraine over the long term. It represents a multi-year investment in critical capabilities to build the enduring strength of Ukraine’s Armed Forces as it continues to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory in the face of Russian aggression,” the statement reads.
Unlike previous packages, which procured military equipment from the Department of Defense’s own supplies, the USAI package will seek support from private industry. The new equipment headed to Ukraine will be procured from American businesses in the medium to long term.
What’s In the Package?
The latest round of aid from the United States focuses heavily on weapons and ammunition, providing Ukraine with more HIMARS missile launcher systems that the military already has in service.
A total of 18 HIMARS are on their way to Ukraine, two more than the 16 presently in use. The package also included 150 Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, 150 tactical vehicles designed to tow weapons, as well as 40 trucks and 80 trailers that will assist with transporting heavy equipment.
The package also included two radars for unmanned aerial systems, 20 multi-mission radars, counter-unmanned aerial systems, secure communications systems, and other pieces of equipment.
Additional funding will also be provided to assist with the training of troops as well as the maintenance of equipment on the battlefield.
The latest package brings the United States’ total commitment to $16.9 billion since January 2021.
HIMARS Are Essential
While the United States is still not providing the long-range missile systems that Ukraine has long requested, by more than doubling Ukraine’s supply of HIMARS the United States is equipping Ukrainian fighters with battle-tested weapons as Russia prepares a new offensive in the Donbas region.
HIMARS has already allowed Ukraine to make significant gains in Kharkiv and Kherson, pushing Russian soldiers back to the border, and have even assisted in breaking up Russia’s land bridge between the Donbas and Crimea.
Just days ago, Russian army captain Oleg Lebedev was reportedly killed in a HIMARS strike on the headquarters of a Russian unit in Izyum, Kharkiv.
“It was the headquarters of the 35th combined army that was responsible for commanding the troops in this area – the breakthrough occurred in their area,” Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov said on Telegram.
“And now, as we can see, there are reasons to say that the Russian command suffered significant losses in this area. The chief of missile troops and artillery is one of the key elements in modern warfare. Now it is clear that the defeat of the Russians was largely connected with the loss of control and the accurate determination by Ukrainian intelligence of the location of Russian headquarters and their precise defeat.”
Already familiar with these HIMARS systems, Ukrainian soldiers may put these missile systems to good use in the Donbas as Russia attempts to illegally annex the region following a series of sham referendums. How effectively Ukrainian soldiers can do this, however, depends on how quickly they arrive and how soon Russia deploys the 300,000 troops currently in the process of being conscripted.
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.