Military aid to Ukraine: the contrasting effort of Westerners

Military aid to Ukraine: the contrasting effort of Westerners


Kiev has been demanding it for weeks. In a forum published on May 31 on the website of the New York Times, US President Joe Biden has pledged to supply Ukraine “More advanced missile and ammunition systems” than those delivered by Westerners since the start of the Russian offensive on February 24th. Objective: to allow Ukrainian troops to “More specifically targeting key targets on the battlefield”as Moscow forces advance into the Donbass, where the city of Sievierodonetsk could fall overnight.

According to a list released Wednesday by the Pentagon, the new weapons delivered by the Americans include M142 Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) multiple rocket launchers. Mounted on wheels, making them highly mobile and vulnerable to counter-firing, these devices can fire up to six missiles simultaneously at targets about 70 kilometers away. By comparison, the 155 mm guns used by Ukrainians, including the American M777 or the French Caesar, must be limited to a range of 30 to 40 kilometers.

Also read: War in Ukraine: what are these M142 Himars multiple rocket launchers that the United States will provide in Kiev?

Above all, the accuracy of the M30 and M31 missiles that the United States is committed to delivering with its Himars is a few meters, thanks to onboard GPS or inertial radars. An accuracy that should allow Ukrainians to target the back lines of Moscow forces, including fuel depots, telecommunications centers or transportation infrastructure. “Many Russian refueling bases are close to the front, about 80 kilometers away. These systems will make it possible to target all their average logistic depth in the Donbass “, says Léo Péria-Peigné, researcher at the Center for Security Studies of the French Institute of International Relations. The Himars are also much simpler and quicker to reload than their Russian counterparts, an asset in an artillery battle like the one at Donbass.

Avoid any risk of climbing

Theoretically, these multiple rocket launchers could also allow Ukraine to target targets on Russian territory itself, such as the city of Belgorod, a major logistics base for the former Red Army, located about 40 kilometers from Russia. the border. According to the Pentagon, however, Kiev has pledged not to do so, to avoid any risk of escalation. As a precaution, the United States does not plan to deliver to Ukraine MGM-140 ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) missiles, a ballistic weapon capable of reaching a target at 300 kilometers and which can be launched with a Himars.

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