Russia says it destroyed American HIMARS in Ukraine
Russian forces destroyed two US-made rocket launchers in Donbass, the defense ministry said on Wednesday.
The US provided Kiev with eight High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and ammunition since the beginning of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, according to a Pentagon fact sheet published on Tuesday.
“In the area of the settlement of Malotaranovka in the Donetsk People's Republic, high-precision air-launched missiles destroyed two US-made HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems and two ammunition depots for them,” the Russian military said in a statement.
At the end of June, the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) said that an М142 HIMARS had been used by Ukrainian forces in Donbass, the first time that local authorities reported the US-supplied systems had been used in combat.
Prior to that, the chief of Ukraine’s General Staff, Valery Zaluzhny, posted a video, purporting to show pro-Kiev forces operating the long-range rocket system.
On June 23, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov welcomed the arrival of HIMARS and expressed gratitude to his “American colleague and friend Lloyd Austin (the Pentagon chief) for these powerful tools.”
“Summer will be hot for Russian occupiers. And the last one for some of them,” he wrote on Twitter.
Russia has constantly warned the US and its allies against providing Ukraine with weapons saying that it would only lead to the prolongation of the conflict and the creation of long-term problems.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday that some of the foreign weapons intended for Ukraine were spreading throughout the Middle East and are turning up on the black market.
The Russian military also made it clear that any foreign arms on Ukrainian territory would be considered legitimate targets.
Late last month G7 countries pledged to provide support to Ukraine in all possible forms “for as long as it takes.”
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.