Zelensky Hails U.S.-Made HIMARS, Package: 'Closer to Victory'

Ukraine has praised further U.S. military support for its war effort, as Kyiv said its forces had received a new delivery of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which are proving crucial in the fight to hold off Vladimir Putin's troops.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced the authorization of $550 million of security assistance in a package of "equipment the Ukrainians are using effectively to defend their country."

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked President Joe Biden for his "robust support" of Ukraine and his understanding that Russia threatened the "entire civilized world."

"Together we are defending values of freedom," he tweeted. "The new defense assistance package is bringing us closer to victory."

US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems
U.S. M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers fire salvoes during the "African Lion" military exercise in the Grier Labouihi region in southeastern Morocco on June 9, 2021. Ukraine praised the arrival of four more of U.S.-provided systems on August 1, 2022. FADEL SENNA/Getty Images

This included 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, as well as additional HIMARS ammunition, as the DoD statement touted how the U.S. had committed around $8.8 billion in security assistance to Kyiv under the Biden administration.

Although the Pentagon statement didn't mention the provision of HIMARS, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted on Monday that four more of U.S.-made systems had arrived in Ukraine on Monday, taking the total to 16.

He tweeted that Ukrainian forces "have proven to be smart operators" of the precision weapons, which can hit targets 50 miles away.

"The sound of the #HIMARS volley has become a top hit of this summer at the front lines!" he added. Ukrainian presidential adviser Andriy Yermak tweeted: "Say HI" to the new HIMARS, adding that they are "ready to speak up."

Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.

Ukraine and the U.S. have said that the systems have destroyed dozens of Russian ammunition depots as well as command-and-control centers. Last week, a Pentagon official said they had been effective in stopping Russia from acquiring air superiority.

As Ukraine's troops prepare a counter offensive, the weapons have allowed them to make bridges in the Kherson region impassable.

The acting head of Kyiv's military intelligence, Major General Vadym Skibitsky, told The Telegraph that his forces were able to precisely target Russian fuel and ammunition depots using HIMARS thanks to "real-time information."

Although he said U.S. officials weren't providing direct targeting information, which would risk making them direct participants in the war and raise the prospect of escalation, there was a degree of consultation with the U.S. and the U.K before missiles were launched.

"I can't tell you whether [we are directly tasking] British and American satellites," he told the paper, "but we have very good satellite imagery."

"We have very good communication with all the sister intelligence agencies," he added.