The U.S. provides more ammunition for the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in Ukraine within a fresh $550 million security assistance package to assist in its ongoing war with Russia, National Security Council (NSC) Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said Monday.
The announcement came days after Russia said that it had destroyed a lot more than 100 U.S.-made missiles for HIMARS in a strike on a Ukrainian ammo depot that it said killed 120 Ukrainian troops, technical specialists among others. Newsweek had not been in a position to independently verify Russia’s report at that time, and didn’t receive any responses when it contacted the defense ministries of Russian and Ukraine for confirmation and comment.
The HIMARS ammunition in the brand new U.S. package provides more missiles for a weapon system that is described by one former U.S. army general as a “game changer” in Ukraine’s fight Russia’s invasion. The U.S. has sent 16 HIMARS to Ukraine altogether. The most recent four arrived on Monday, Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, announced on Twitter.
“We’ve shown to be smart operators of the weapon,” Reznikov tweeted. “The sound of the #HIMARS volley has turned into a top hit of the summer at the front end lines!”
Some U.S. officials, like Reznikov, have touted Ukraine’s usage of the HIMARS against Russia. U.S. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a news conference last month that Russia had up to now failed to remove the systems, something Russia has since contradicted.
The brand new $550 million security assistance package also contains ammunition for 155 mm artillery systems, or howitzers, which have recently been supplied to Ukraine, Kirby said, talking with reporters at White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre‘s press briefing.
He added that the brand new funds means that President Joe Biden has authorized a lot more than $8 billion in security and materiel assistance under presidential drawdown authority since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Additionally it is Biden’s 17th time Biden has authorized a security assistance package using his drawdown authority since he took office, Kirby said.
“Many thanks @POTUS for the leadership, robust support of [Ukraine] and knowing that [Russia] is really a threat to entire civilized world,” he wrote. “Together we have been defending values of freedom common to both [Ukraine] & [the U.S.]. New defense assistance package is bringing us nearer to victory.”
Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Defense Department and the defense ministries of Russia and Ukraine for comment.