The Ukrainian defense minister said the arrival of the U.S. long-range rocket system came as Russian troops continued to advance in the eastern Donbass region.
Ukraine says it has taken delivery of the U.S.-supplied High Mobility Rocket Artillery System (HIMARS), a powerful long-range weapon system that Kyiv hopes can help turn the tide of a Russian invasion.
“HIMARS has arrived in Ukraine. Thanks to my colleague and friend @SecDef Lloyd J. Austin III for these powerful tools! Summer will be hot for the Russian occupiers. And some last,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Otto Lexy Reznikov tweeted on Thursday.
He did not say how many systems had arrived.
HIMARS has arrived in Ukraine.
Thanks to my 🇺🇲 colleagues and friends @SecDef Lloyd J. Austin III for these powerful tools!
For the Russian occupiers, summer will be hot. The last one is some of them. pic.twitter.com/BTmwadthpp
— Oleksireznikov (@oleksiireznikov) June 23, 2022
The announcement comes as Moscow’s forces push into eastern Ukraine to capture the industrial heartland known as the Donbass, where Ukraine fears parts of its forces could be surrounded by Russian pincers.
Ukraine has said it needs the HIMARS system to better match the range of Russian rocket systems, which have been widely used to strike Ukrainian positions in the Donbass.
Washington said it had received assurances from Kyiv that the long-range weapons would not be used to attack Russian soil amid fears of an escalation of the conflict.
While the West has sent weapons to Ukraine to help it fight the Kremlin’s forces, Kyiv complained that it received only a fraction of what it needed and demanded heavier weapons.
Moscow has warned that if the West supplies Ukraine with long-range missiles for high-precision mobile rocket systems, it will attack Ukrainian targets they “have not yet hit”.