Britain and America will send long-range weapons to Ukraine in an attempt to stem the tide of war in Ukraine’s east, despite warnings that it will only last for a year.
As the US announced it would send its M142 high-mobility rocket system to Ukraine, it claimed that Russia “brought it on itself”. This will increase Ukraine’s artillery range by more than twice and enable it to strike targets up to 50 miles away.
Defence sources claim that Britain will send its M270B1 multi-launch rocket system. It uses a 200lb high explosive weapon head to destroy targets up to 43 miles away. Although fewer than ten rockets will be delivered, a Whitehall source confirmed that they will be accompanied by “lots” ammunition.
Separately, the German government also announced a new weapon package that included anti-aircraft missiles, a radar system, and “several urgently required” medium-range multiple rocket launchers.
Let be clear, Germany to date has delivered none of the military equipment it has promised.
It is not clear how long it will take for heavy weapons to reach Ukraine. Some are believed to be in transit while Russian forces cut off east-bound supply lines. According to the Pentagon, it took three weeks for rocket launchers to be operational.
The US asked Ukraine for assurances that long-range missiles would not be used against Russia. Moscow was not satisfied and reacted angrily to the announcement. It accused Washington of “adding fuel to the fire intentionally” and increasing the likelihood of provoking the superpowers into conflict.
Dmitry Peskov (Kremlin spokesperson) stated that “such supplies” didn’t encourage Kyiv into resuming peace talks. He also said that America wanted “to fight Russia to the death”.
Sergei Ryabkov (Russian deputy foreign minister) issued a similar warning to the state news agency RIA Novaosti, saying: “This is unprecedented, and this is dangerous.”
Jonathan Finer, the White House deputy national security advisor, responded: “We are exactly doing what we promised. Russia caused this by invading a sovereign nation from its territory.
According to a western official, the US M142 system outperforms Russian artillery. This includes the BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple launcher rocket launcher. It has a greater range of up 56 miles. The M142 [Himars] is mobile and more able to engage multiple targets quickly. The Russians will be able to create a real problem and allow the Ukrainians to destroy their supply lines.
He said that the M142 would be able to carry hundreds of tonnes worth of ammunition. According to reports, the US plans to sell Ukraine four Gray Eagle drones capable of firing Hellfire missiles.
Russia is focusing its efforts to capture Severodonetsk (or Lysychansk), two cities located on the Siverskyi Donets in eastern Ukraine. Their capture would place Russia under control of almost the entire Luhansk region, which is a crucial goal. As the defenders retreated to their prepared positions, Ukraine appeared close to losing Severodonetsk.
Serhiy Haidai (the governor of Luhansk) stated that 70% of Severodonetsk is Russian.
The western official stated that the Russians were making slow but steady gains and were using indirect fire to get through. The battle for Severodonetsk would not be the key to the eastern campaign’s success, and there were many other challenges ahead, including crossing difficult rivers. He said that they would need to take a few pauses to consolidate their position before moving on. The conflict will continue “at least until the end of the year” or “possibly even longer” if there are no negotiated settlements.
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