Pentagon to double HIMARS artillery to Ukraine

The United States will more than double its commitment to long-range missile artillery systems to Ukraine, the Pentagon said Wednesday, part of a long-term strategy by the United States and its partners to increase weapons production in response to Russia’s invasion.

The $1.1 billion package will include 18 high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), weapons that have wreaked havoc on command posts and logistical hubs behind Russian lines. The US has already delivered 16 of the systems, capable of delivering precision munitions from up to 50 miles away, from existing stockpiles.

This new tranche will take a “couple of years” to build and deliver, a senior US defense official told reporters, emphasizing efforts to provide for Ukraine’s long-term defense infrastructure as allies and partners expedite tailored packages of equipment and ammunition for the most urgent needs . HIMARS represents a “core component of Ukraine’s combat force in the future,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon.

The Russian men flee from mobilization, leaving everything behind

Separately, the Pentagon said Wednesday that the United States intends to increase production of “ground-based long-range fires, air defense systems, air-to-ground munitions and other capabilities” needed to sustain Ukraine’s military in the long run. In a statement, defense officials said nearly 20 other nations also agreed to expand their industrial base and speed up the production of weapons that can replace Ukraine’s Russian and Soviet-era equipment with modern systems used by NATO.

The announcements come as Russia presses as many as 300,000 conscripts into service to replace and reinforce beleaguered troops driven back by Ukrainian offensives in the east and south. Preparing the new troops will be a challenge for the Kremlin, another US official told reporters, given the logistics needed to deliver and train them. Many of the Russian troops who would train conscripts “are already in Ukraine,” the official said.

The latest weapons package includes weapons and equipment that will take between six months and two years to deliver and requires defense contractors to restart or ramp up production, the first defense official said.

Ukraine will also receive 150 additional armored Humvees, which will enable troops to transport foot soldiers and maneuver around the battlefield during offensive operations, and more than 200 vehicles that will help them haul heavy equipment, a logistical challenge coming with delivering large quantities of heavy equipment. arms.

The package also includes systems designed to mitigate weapons the Russians have used effectively, including radars that can detect incoming artillery and drones.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an address to the nation on September 21, perceiving this as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West seeking to use Ukraine as a tool to “divide and destroy Russia.” Follow our live updates here.

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counter-offensive has forced a large Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled towns and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war, leaving behind large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation referenda: Staged referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are due to take place from September 23 to 27 in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. Another referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson from Friday.

Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground since the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways that those in the United States can help support the Ukrainian people, as well as what people around the world have donated.

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