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Four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems going to Ukraine, Pentagon chief says

U.S. Secretary for Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, center, waits for the start of a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, June 16, 2022. NATO defense ministers on Thursday will discuss beefing up weapons supplies to Ukraine, and Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the transatlantic military alliance. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

The U.S. will be sending Ukraine four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in another security assistance package to be announced later this week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday.

In opening remarks at a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Austin said the incoming package will be the 16th drawdown of weapons from the Pentagon’s inventory since August 2021.

The pending announcement comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears its sixth month and Ukraine is looking to defend itself in its eastern Donbas region.

Austin said this was a “critical phase of the conflict,” meaning “our collective support for Ukraine is vital and urgent.”

“Russia thinks that it can outlast Ukraine and outlast us. But that’s just the latest in Russia’s string of miscalculations,” he added.

The U.S. first sent HIMARS around early June to allow the Ukrainians to more precisely strike targets from greater distances inside Ukraine. Both U.S. and Ukrainian officials have touted their effectiveness on the battlefield.

Speaking to reporters later on Wednesday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said that more than 200 Ukrainians have been trained on the systems.

The systems in the upcoming package would bring the number of launchers the U.S. has sent to 16. The U.S. has sent 12 thus far, most recently sending four in a $400 million assistance package announced on July 8.

In addition to the HIMARS, the upcoming package will include more rounds of multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) and artillery ammunition.

In his remarks, Austin touted other countries that have stepped up their support for Ukraine, such as the United Kingdom sending its own MLRS systems and Poland agreeing to transfer three battalions of 155mm self-propelled howitzers.

The Pentagon chief also thanked Norway for working with the U.S. to transfer two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, also known as Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems.

The systems were included in an $820 million weapons package to Ukraine announced on July 1.

Updated: 2:10 p.m.

Tags Defense Department High Mobility Artillery Rocket System HIMARS Lloyd Austin Lloyd Austin Mark Milley Pentagon Russia Ukraine

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