As the US prepares to send a new shipment of ammunition to Ukraine for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) advanced rocket system, a senior US defense official says Ukrainian forces are having “a good deal of success” using the system to target Russian command posts and degrade their capabilities on the battlefield.
“The Ukrainians are able to carefully select targets that will undermine the effort by Russia in a more systematic way certainly than they would be able to do with the shorter range artillery systems,” the official said, speaking to a group of reporters Friday.
The official acknowledged that Ukraine is still in the very early days of using the HIMARS, but they have so far used it effectively after a brief training period that recently ended. At least four HIMARS entered Ukraine already, with four more promised.
The HIMARS have a range of approximately 40 miles (about 64 kilometers), allowing the Ukrainians to strike from afar and with more accuracy than the shorter-ranged artillery.
“What you see is the Ukrainians are actually systematically selecting targets and then accurately hitting them, thus providing this precise method of degrading Russian capability,” the official said.
The official also said Russia was well aware that it hit a shopping mall earlier this week in the town of Kremenchuk, rejecting Moscow’s claims that it does not strike civilian targets.
“They certainly knew what it was and they would’ve known that it could’ve had this collateral damage or this effect,” the official said.
The official added that the missile used in the attack, designed as an anti-ship weapon, was not intended for use in crowded urban environments.