The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine recently hinted that Kyiv could find it hard to strike the Russian military with its ‘much fancied’ HIMARS MLRS.
Valeriy Zaluzhny said that the Russian troops have gotten used to HIMARS attacks. He added that “they moved to a distance HIMARS cannot reach. And we don’t have anything with a greater range.”
Earlier, it was reported that HIMARS that the US delivered to Ukraine were altered to block them from striking Russia.
The transformations were done so that Ukraine could launch long-range missiles into Russia, something Washington thinks is essential to diminish a broader conflict with Russia.
The US does not want Kyiv to strike inside Russia. According to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, they had neither encouraged nor permitted the Ukrainians to hit the Russian mainland.
However, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in early December that the United States is not preventing Ukraine from developing its own long-range weapons systems to strike Russian territory.
“Your question was: is the US working to prevent Ukraine from developing its own long-range strike capability? The short answer is no. We’re absolutely not doing that,” Austin said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The question came following reports that the Defense Department has modified High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) sent to Ukraine to limit their range due to concerns Kyiv might use them to strike Russian territory and thereby escalate the conflict.
The United States has provided Ukraine 20 HIMARS launchers with guided munitions that can strike a target nearly 50 miles away. However, Washington has declined to provide Kyiv with the Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), which have a range of almost 200 miles.
While the Defense Department has often touted the effectiveness of the existing HIMARS capabilities on the battlefield in Ukraine, President Joe Biden said last month that he is not looking for Ukraine to start striking Russian territory by providing longer-range weapon systems and munitions.