Russia Claims to Have Destroyed Four U.S. HIMARS Launchers in Ukraine

Russia has said its forces managed to destroy four of the American-supplied M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, over a period of two weeks.

The claim comes only a day after the U.S. said that all of the systems, which have given a significant boost to Ukraine's forces on the battlefield, remained intact.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Friday that between July 5 and July 20, two of the launchers "were eliminated" near the settlement of Malotaranovka in the Donetsk region as was another HIMARS and a transport-loading vehicle in Krasnoarmiisk.

He added that a fourth launcher was destroyed in the eastern outskirts of Konstantinovka in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), according to government military media outlet Zvezda.

Ukraine has boasted about its success with the HIMARS which it has said destroyed ammunition depots in the southern Ukrainian city of Nova Kakhovka and the vital Antonivka Road Bridge in the southern Kherson region.

Ukraine has previously dismissed Russian reports of successfully targeting HIMARS.

Last week, Ukrainian outlet UNIAN reported that the Russian Defense Ministry claim it had destroyed a launcher and a transport loading vehicle for HIMARS could not be true.

This was because there is no loading system for HIMARS, which are loaded by the installation itself.

Both Russia and Ukraine's claims about the opposing side's losses have been met with some skepticism.

An investigation by an independent Russian outlet Agentstvo last month, based on Russian Defense Ministry press releases, found that the total weapons and military vehicles Moscow claimed to have destroyed in Ukraine exceeded what Kyiv had in its arsenal. Newsweek has contacted the Ukrainian Defense Ministry for comment.

Moscow's latest claims are at odds with comments by General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told a news conference on Wednesday that so far HIMARS systems "have not been eliminated by the Russians."

Standing next to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Milley added that the Ukrainian forces were "very effective at using them."

The same day, Austin announced that the U.S. would be sending four additional M142 HIMARS to Ukraine, bringing the total to 16.

The M31 series rockets supplied with the HIMARS can hit a target within a 16-foot radius at a range of up over 50 miles and have allowed Ukraine's forces to target command stations and ammunition depots.

However, Andrei Kartapolov, who heads Russia's State Duma Defense Committee, said on Thursday that his country's forces can counteract the systems which Moscow should not be afraid of.

"The system is serious, but there is a countermeasure—our air defense facilities," the lawmaker told state news agency TASS.

Also on Thursday, Ukrainian government adviser Anton Gerashchenko tweeted a video that he said showed Russian-fired missiles failing to intercept HIMARS rockets which had targeted an ammunition depot in Skadovsk in the southern Kherson region.

A U.S. soldier walk past an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher vehicle, during the "African Lion" military exercise in the Grier Labouihi region in southeastern Morocco on June 9, 2021. Russia said on July 22, 2022 that it has destroyed four of the rocket systems supplied to Ukraine by the U.S, although this claim has not been verified. FADEL SENNA/Getty Images