HIMARS Effectiveness in Ukraine War Explained by Officer Fighting Russians

A Ukrainian battalion member on Sunday touted the effectiveness of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that the United States has provided Ukraine in its ongoing fight against Russian forces.

Bohdan Dmytruk, a commander in Ukraine's 93rd Mechanized Brigade, told The Washington Post that after using HIMARS to strike a Russian ammunition depot, Russian shelling has decreased by 10 times.

"We have about one guy suffer a concussion every week now. Before the HIMARS hit, it was about two to three a day because of the intensity of the shelling," he told the newspaper, adding that he believes that the strike on the depot has forced Russian troops to conserve their ammunition.

HIMARS Effectiveness in Ukraine War Explained
A Ukrainian battalion member touted the effectiveness of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that the U.S. has provided Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces. Above, HIMARS speed past armored personnel carriers in the Philippines on April 14, 2016. Ted Aljibe

On Friday the U.S. said it would provide four additional HIMARS to Ukraine as part of a $270 million security package. The Post reported that the U.S. has already provided Ukraine with a dozen HIMARS, but that Ukrainian officials say they need at least 100 of the long-range rocket systems to effectively counter the Russians.

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.

Meanwhile, Russia has claimed to have destroyed four U.S. provided HIMARS in recent days. However, Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's military intelligence chief, told the Post that they "haven't lost a single HIMARS despite what the Russians have claimed."

The Pentagon also said last week that Russian forces have failed to destroy any of the rocket launching systems.

"To date, those systems have not been eliminated by the Russians, and I knock on wood every time I say something like that," General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Thursday. "And they're [Ukrainians are] being very effective at using them, employing precision weapons against targets."

On Saturday, retired U.S. Army General Mark Hertling wrote on Twitter that "w/ fewer rounds, greater range, precision accuracy" HIMARS are "a game changer" in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Meanwhile, Russian military analyst Michael Kofman said in an interview with Radio Free Europe published Saturday that HIMARS will pose a "big problem" for Russia on the battlefield.

Kofman, who heads the Russia Studies Program at the Virginia-based think tank CNA, said the weapons are "going to help Ukraine gain a degree of parity with Russian artillery, and is going to create a big problem for the Russian military, and how they organize both logistics and command and control and the degree of attrition they take on the battlefield."