US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley made the announcement at the end of the third meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, held at NATO’s headquarters in Belgium. He said: “By the end of this month, we will transfer HIMARS systems, ammunition, trained crews for operational use in the defence of Ukraine.” The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) can reportedly launch a rocket capable of travelling up to 80km.
The weapons are mounted on a truck and can carry a container with six rockets.
Up to 60 Ukrainians have reportedly been trained how to use the HIMARS rocket system, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley.
The system has been described as “game-changing”, and the shipments make up part of a $700million (£566million) package the US is sending to Ukraine.
Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin III said in the meeting that the HIMARS “will significantly boost Ukraine’s capabilities — especially when combined with additional donations of NATO-standard rocket systems from the United Kingdom and our other allies”.
He also noted Ukraine had requested weapons with new capabilities, including long-range weapons.
Mr Milley said the US has also trained 420 Ukrainian personnel on M777 howitzers, and 300 on self-propelled howitzers M109.
Howitzers are a long-range weapon the US has already provided.
The country has also sent Ukraine more than 60,000 Javelin anti-tank weapons, 5,000 Stinger missiles, 700 Switchblade drones, 20 Mi-17 helicopter.
It has also shipped over hundreds of thousands of munitions for small arms.
Mr Milley noted at the meeting how the US has trained 129 Ukrainian personnel on armoured personnel carriers M113, 100 on unmanned aerial systems.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said today as he landed in Kyiv that Britain plans to spearhead a programme to train thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
It could see up to 10,000 soldiers trained every 120 days and help Ukraine’s army speed up deployment, rebuild forces and strengthen the fight against Putin.
This comes as Russia’s army is reportedly struggling on the battlefield.
Head of the UK’s Armed Forces Admiral Sir Tony Radakin has claimed Russia has already “strategically lost” the war.
He told PA Media: “Russia has strategically lost already. NATO is stronger, Finland and Sweden are looking to join.”
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Sir Tony added: “The Russian machine is grinding away, and it’s gaining a couple of – two, three, five – kilometres every day.
“And Russia has vulnerabilities because it’s running out of people, it’s running out of hi-tech missiles.
“President Putin has used about 25 percent of his army’s power to gain a tiny amount of territory and 50,000 people either dead or injured. Russia is failing.”
According to Ukraine’s estimates, around 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the fighting so far, with most casualties due to a mix of missteps.
Ukraine estimates that 10,000 of its own soldiers have died since the invasion began in February, meaning Russia have lost 50 percent more of its army.