WASHINGTON – The White House on Thursday authorized an additional $450 million in military aid to Ukraine, which is expected to receive four more rocket launchers that the Kyiv government said were needed to repel Russian troops in Donbass.
National Security Council spokesman John F. Kirby announced the further “reduction” of goods from Pentagon stockpiles on Thursday afternoon.
The latest announcement brings the total amount of US military aid to Ukraine to $6.8 billion since the beginning of the Biden administration — the vast majority of which has been committed since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, according to with a statement from the Pentagon. emailed to reporters shortly after the White House briefing.
The truck-mounted launchers, called the M142 HIMARS – for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System – carry six guided rockets in a disposable “pod” that can be quickly dropped after the munitions have been dropped, allowing the vehicle’s three-person crew to quickly lift off. a new fully loaded pod in place.
Rockets typically carry a 200-pound high-explosive warhead to targets up to 43 miles away and can hit about 30 feet from their programmed aiming point.
The combination of HIMARS launchers and the guided rockets they fire is a qualitative leap forward for Ukrainian artillery capabilities, which previously operated only Soviet-designed artillery rocket systems that are unguided and much slower to reload. Hours earlier, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced on Twitter that the first batch of HIMARS trucks, from a Pentagon shipment announced in late May, had arrived in his country.
The inventory of the Pentagon’s latest aid includes 36,000 rounds of 105mm artillery ammunition, suggesting that Ukraine has acquired yet another standard NATO artillery system that would use it. It was not immediately clear which country had supplied Ukraine with the howitzers to fire them.