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A file photo of a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) operated by the Wisconsin Army National Guard on the Swedish island of Gotland in October 2021.US Army/Sgt. Patrick Orcutt

  • Ukraine’s Defense Minister thanked the United States for the delivery of HIMARS long-range rocket systems.

  • “The summer will be hot for the Russian occupiers. And the last for some of them,” he said.

  • Ukraine lobbied the US for HIMARS for months and promised not to shoot Russia itself.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov thanked the United States for the delivery of long-range rockets the country urgently requested to help level the playing field in its fight against Russia.

“HIMARS has arrived in Ukraine. Thanks to my colleague and friend @SecDef Lloyd J. Austin III for these powerful tools! The summer will be hot for the Russian occupiers. And the last for some of them,” Reznikov tweeted on Thursday.

The United States has promised four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)

The White House is expected as early as Thursday to commit to delivering four more soon, CBS News reported.

The weapons are more advanced than Ukraine’s existing artillery capabilities and are capable of hitting targets up to 50 miles away.

The Biden administration approved the transfer of HIMARS in late May, conceding what had become Ukraine’s first request for military aid.

Russia reacted angrily to the move, declaring it an escalation that would be met with a harsh response.

As part of the deal, Ukrainian leaders promised to only fire at targets inside Ukraine and not to use them to fire across its border into Russia.

The rockets can hit targets up to 50 miles away, far beyond the range of most existing Ukrainian artillery systems.

Long-range weapons have become essential in Ukraine’s war with Russia, which increasingly focuses on artillery duels between the two armies. Longer range means being able to hit the enemy without being hit back.

Footage from the battlefield in the eastern Donbass region showed the extent of the shelling:

Prior to the delivery announced Thursday, U.S. forces had trained Ukrainian troops in the use of military HIMARS, Colin H. Kahl, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, said during a recent Pentagon briefing.

“These are precision guided systems with extended range,” he said. “For high-value targets, this, this allows them to maintain some of the pressure of the Ukrainian forces on the front, [which] we think these systems will be very useful.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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