Officials: US is sending Ukraine more advanced missile systems

WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States will soon deliver to Ukraine four more of the advanced missile systems credited with helping the country’s military gain momentum in its war with Russia.

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, will be part of a new $625 million aid package expected to be announced on Tuesday, according to US officials.

The decision marks the first time the United States has sent multiple HIMARS to Ukraine since late July, and will bring the total delivered so far to 20. The systems have become a key tool in Ukraine’s ability to strike bridges that Russia has used to deliver. its troops, allowing Ukrainian forces to make inroads into Russian-controlled regions.

In recent weeks, the US has also provided funding through a separate program – the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative – so that an additional 18 HIMARS can be purchased through long-term contracts. USAI funds are being used as part of the US and Western allies’ efforts to ensure that Ukraine’s forces are trained and equipped to defend their country for years to come. But these contracts will take several years to fulfill.

The latest aid package is also expected to include other ammunition and equipment for Ukraine’s troops. Several US officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details of the package ahead of the announcement. This is the first tranche of US aid delivered in the new fiscal year, which began on October 1.

Ukraine has been pressing its counteroffensive in the Kherson region since the summer, relentlessly pounding Russian supply lines and making inroads into Russian-controlled areas west of the Dnieper River. Ukrainian troops have used HIMARS to repeatedly hit the main bridge over the Dnieper and a dam that served as another crossing. It has also hit pontoon bridges used by Russia to supply its troops.

Ukraine’s successes on the battlefield in Kherson are notable as it is one of the four areas that Russia is in the process of annexing.

A senior US military official said on Monday that the attacks by Ukrainian forces have forced Russia into a “defensive crouch” in Kherson, hampering Russian efforts to supply its frontline troops.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity to provide a US military assessment of the war, said the US has so far seen only a small number of Russian reinforcements enter Ukraine in an effort to bolster its defenses. Russia has said it will mobilize up to 300,000 conscripts to send to Ukraine.

The official also said that despite persistent Russian threats to use nuclear power, the United States has not seen any moves from the Kremlin that would prompt the United States to change its own nuclear posture.

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