War in Ukraine: New American weapons in support of Ukrainian counteroffensive

War in Ukraine: New American weapons in support of Ukrainian counteroffensive

The United States on Friday announced a new $775 million tranche of military aid to Ukraine.

The United States on Friday announced a new $775 million tranche of military aid to Ukraine aimed at helping Kyiv launch a counteroffensive in the south at a time when Russian forces appear weakened.

“These capabilities are carefully calibrated to make as much impact as possible on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken when officially announcing these new arms shipments.

This new support tranche includes additional missiles for US Himars precision artillery systems that “changed the game on the battlefield,” a senior US Defense Department official told reporters.

Armored vehicles and anti-radar missiles

Washington will also provide the Ukrainian armed forces with mobile gun systems and 105mm shells compatible with UK-supplied weapons, as well as 15 Scan Eagle reconnaissance drones that have a range of more than 100 km and observations on the ground battlefield even in bad weather conditions, as well as 1000 new Javelin anti-tank missiles and 1500 Tow missiles, also anti-tank weapons.

The new tranche of military aid, the 19th since August 2021, also includes, for the first time, MaxxPro anti-mine vehicles intended for transporting troops in mined terrain. Less than two weeks after a $1 billion tranche was announced, the Biden administration’s military aid to Ukraine increases to $10.7 billion.

It also supplies Harm anti-radar air-to-surface missiles, which Ukrainians could adapt to their Russian-made MIG bombers, revealed the senior American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The United States remains vague on the missiles it has delivered

This is the first time the United States has disclosed that it has supplied these supersonic missiles designed to find and destroy enemy air defense systems. A senior US official recently merely mentioned the gift of “anti-radar capabilities” to Ukraine without further detail.

“We are careful not to speak publicly about capabilities that give Ukraine an asymmetric and unexpected advantage,” the US official said.

In Harm’s case, “we’ve seen that they’ve used them successfully, so we can talk about that, but we won’t be releasing specific numbers.”

Russians “more vulnerable than expected”

While the United States has so far only supplied “defensive” weapons, the Pentagon official has indicated that the goal now is to help Ukrainian forces with the counteroffensive they are preparing to resume, including the strategic city of Kherson In the south of the country.

“Anti-mine equipment is a good example of what Ukrainians need to advance their troops and retake territory,” she noted. Without saying that they are offensive weapons, she added that they are “skills that increase the mobility of Ukrainians when going into very difficult terrain, especially southern Ukraine”.

She pointed out that in recent weeks the Ukrainian armed forces had managed to stop the advance of Russian forces in the south and east of the country, noting in particular the use of American Himars missiles.

“You can see a complete lack of progress by the Russians on the battlefield,” she said. “The general impression is that the Russians are much more vulnerable than they thought.”

“No restoration of territory” at this stage

The senior Pentagon official acknowledged that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has so far failed to retake territory, but assured that the recent damage inflicted on Russian ammunition depots weakened Moscow’s position in the longer term.

“We have not seen any territory retaken by Ukrainian forces,” she admitted. “But we see a significant weakening of Russian positions in several places.”

“You shouldn’t just think in centimeters of territory, ‘recovered or not,'” she said. But to ask “which abilities mined, which positions destroyed and where the Himars were exceptionally effective”.