Ukraine's new US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) have “significantly slowed” Russia’s advance in the country, according to a Ukrainian government minister.
“These systems allowed us to destroy approximately 30 command stations and ammunition storages, when we started using only eight HIMARS systems,” Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Tuesday.
“This has significantly slowed down the Russia advance and dramatically decreased the intensity of their artillery shelling," Reznikov said in a video address to US thinktank the Atlantic Council.
However, Ukrainian forces need more Western long-range precision artillery and rocket systems to hold Russia back and launch a counteroffensive, Reznikov added.
“We are grateful to our partners for HIMARS and… M270,” he said, referring to the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) that the UK has committed to providing Ukraine.
“To effectively hold back the enemy, we need at least 50 such systems, given that our frontline is almost 2,500 kilometres (1,553 miles),” he added. “For an effective counteroffensive we would need at least a 100, I think. That could become a game changer on the battle field in that case.”
Over the past few weeks, Ukraine has been using the HIMARS and other Western-made weaponry to target Russian ammunition depots in Moscow-controlled territory. Rockets launched from HIMARS damaged a key bridge crossing the Dnieper river in the Kherson region Wednesday, TASS reported.
Reznikov called for Ukraine’s allies to test more of their equipment in the country.
“Ukraine is now essentially a testing ground,” he said. “Many weapons are now getting tested in the field in the real conditions of the battle against the Russian army…We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against the enemy, and we are inviting arms manufacturers to test their new products here.
“I think for our partners in Poland, in the United States, France or Germany, it’s a good chance to test their equipment. Or our Turkey partners,” he said. “Give us the tools, we will finish the job.”
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