HIMARS 'Game Changer' in Ukraine War, Russia 'in Dire Shape': Ex-General

Retired U.S. Army General Mark Hertling said Saturday that High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) given to Ukraine to assist in its fight against Russia are a "game changer," contending that Moscow's forces are now "in dire shape."

The White House on Friday announced that an additional $270 million in security assistance would be sent to Ukraine, including four additional HIMARS. The rocket systems have been seen as crucial to helping Kyiv's forces repel Moscow's military.

That announcement from the Biden administration came after a senior U.S. defense official told journalists Friday that Ukraine had utilized HIMARS to take out more than 100 "high value" targets. Those strikes effectively destroyed ammunition depots, long-range artillery positions, command posts, air-defense sites, and radar and communications nodes, the official said.

"As for HIMARS - w/ fewer rounds, greater range, precision accuracy - it's a game changer," Hertling tweeted in a lengthy thread Saturday, providing analysis on the war. The retired general previously served as the commander of the U.S. Army Europe and the Seventh Army.

"Russia is in dire shape & losing, Ukraine is adapting to the fight & winning," he asserted.

Earlier on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shared his appreciation for the new HIMARS being sent by the U.S.

"Thank you @POTUS [Biden] for the new defense aid package for Ukraine. Critically important, powerful arms will save our soldiers' lives, speed up the liberation of our land from the Russian aggressor. I appreciate the strategic friendship between our nations. Together to victory!" Zelensky wrote on Twitter several hours after the White House made the announcement.

Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis touted the delivery of HIMARS to Ukraine as successfully pressuring Russia, leading to a diplomatic breakthrough regarding the port in Odessa, Ukraine.

"The agreement to unblock Odesa would have been impossible without HIMARS. It's now very clear that the war will end earlier if we arm Ukraine faster," Landsbergis tweeted Friday.

The U.S. has provided Ukraine with billions of dollars in military and humanitarian assistance as it defends itself against Moscow's aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the internationally condemned war five months ago on February 24, bizarrely claiming that Kyiv's government is led by Nazis. In reality, Zelensky is Jewish and had family members killed in the Holocaust genocide perpetuated by the German Nazis in World War II.

HIMARS
Retired U.S. Army General Mark Hertling called the HIMARS used by Ukraine against Russia a "game changer" in a Saturday tweet. Above, HIMARS launchers fire salvoes during the "African Lion" military exercise in the Grier Labouihi region in southeastern Morocco on June 9, 2021. FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

On Wednesday, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that Ukraine's use of HIMARS was "degrading" Russia's capabilities.

"These strikes are steadily degrading the Russian ability to supply their troops, command and control of their forces, and carry out their illegal war of aggression," he said.

Russia claimed on Friday that it had destroyed four HIMARS this month that were utilized by Ukraine. However, U.S. and Ukrainian officials have disputed those reports.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian foreign ministry for comment.