U.S.-supplied HIMARS changing the calculus on Ukraine’s front lines

Ukrainian officials say the new tranche of Western materiel is already making a difference on the battlefield — a testament to the importance of continued security assistance and the painful cost of slow-moving deliveries as the Russian military slowly expands its control in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Artillery strikes from French self-propelled howitzers stationed in the port city of Odessa reportedly forced the Russians to withdraw Thursday from the strategically important Snake Island in the Black Sea.

The HIMARS is the most advanced U.S.-provided system and has the longest range of Ukraine’s ground weapons, nearly 50 miles, enabling its forces to precisely strike Russian military targets without endangering its own civilians in occupied territories. Ukraine had been asking for the weapons for about two months before the transfer was approved — after Ukraine assured the Biden administration that it will not use them to launch cross-border attacks into Russia…

The HIMARS also brings more peace of mind, the soldiers said. With their old equipment, they avoided rocket trajectories that passed through any population settlements, limiting them to only shooting through fields and forests, to avoid potentially harming civilians, Moroz said.

And now?

“I don’t have any doubts about what we’ll hit,” Moroz said. “I know the rocket will hit its target because it’s navigated by satellite.”