Ukraine’s defense minister has called the US-supplied long-range missile systems a “game changer” in Kiev’s fight against Russia’s brutal, month-long invasion – but insisted the eastern European country needed more help to achieve ultimate victory.
“We are waiting for more armor, more weapons from our partners,” Oleksii Reznikov told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Sunday. “The war is fierce… We need more. We need it fast.”
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems – known as HIMARS – have enabled Ukrainian troops to precisely engage Russian forces from a range of up to 50 miles.
Reznikov told the Journal that the weapons were used most effectively by Ukrainian forces fighting for the town of Izyum, some 75 miles southeast of Kharkiv.
“In the Izyum case, we were precise [in targeting] a Russian command center for air operations,” he said. “It was really precise. Our partners saw it and said, ‘You passed the test.’”
Despite Ukraine’s success with the launchers, the defense minister said the Russians had requested their own missile systems “which can fly 120 kilometers [75 miles].
“So we need something longer: 150 [kilometers, 93 miles]. We’ll make it,” he said.
Ukraine is specifically targeting the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has a range of up to 186 miles. Washington has expressed reluctance to send such weapons amid fears Ukraine will attack targets inside Russia, prolonging and widening the war.
“That’s a problem,” Reznikov said. “Our missile defense systems can fight with their ballistic and cruise missiles – it’s not 100%, but we can get them. But we can’t shut the heavens against their MLRS [multiple launch rocket systems].”
Reznikov’s comments came days after the Biden administration announced it would send another $400 million in military equipment to the eastern European country, including four additional advanced missile systems.
A senior defense official told the Associated Press on Friday that the four new systems will help Ukraine hit Russian command and control nodes, logistics capabilities and other systems.
At least 100 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained to operate HIMARS since the first delivery of eight systems from the US late last month.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and is attempting to take full control of the eastern Donbass region after repelling an initial attack on Kyiv.
https://nypost.com/2022/07/11/ukraine-calls-us-rocket-launchers-game-changer-requests-more/ Ukraine calls US missile launchers “game changers” and demands more