Artillery vehicle

Pentagon to double HIMARS artillery for Ukraine

The United States will more than double its commitment to long-range rocket artillery systems for Ukraine, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday, as part of a long-term strategy by the United States and its partners aiming to increase arms production in response to the Russian invasion.

The $1.1 billion package will include 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, the weapons that have wreaked havoc on command posts and logistics centers behind Russian lines. The United States has already delivered 16 of the systems, capable of delivering precision munitions up to 50 miles away, from existing stocks.

This new tranche will take “a few years” to build and deliver, a senior US defense official told reporters, pointing to efforts to provide Ukraine’s long-term defense infrastructure while allies and partners are accelerating tailor-made equipment and ammunition packages for the most urgent needs. . HIMARS represents an “essential component of Ukraine’s combat force in the future,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with ground rules set by the Pentagon.

Russian men fleeing mobilization and leaving everything behind

Separately, the Pentagon said on Wednesday that the United States intends to increase production of “ground-based long-range fires, air defense systems, air-to-surface munitions and other capabilities” needed. to support the Ukrainian army in the long term. In a statement, defense officials said nearly 20 other countries had also agreed to expand their industrial base and accelerate production of weapons capable of replacing Ukraine’s Russian and Soviet equipment with systems. modern ones used by NATO.

The announcements come as Russia is pressing up to 300,000 serving conscripts to replace and reinforce beleaguered troops pushed back by Ukrainian offensives to the east and south. Preparing these new troops will be a challenge for the Kremlin, a second US official told reporters, given the logistics needed to supply and train them. Many Russian soldiers who would train conscripts “are already in Ukraine,” the official said.

The latest arms package includes weapons and equipment that will take six months to two years to deliver and will force defense contractors to restart or scale up manufacturing, the top defense official said.

Ukraine will also receive 150 additional armored Humvees, which will allow troops to transport infantry and maneuver on the battlefield during offensive operations, and more than 200 vehicles which will help them transport heavy equipment, a challenge logistics linked to the supply of large quantities of heavy goods. weapons.

The package also includes systems designed to mitigate weapons the Russians have used effectively, including radars capable of detecting incoming artillery and drones.

War in Ukraine: what you need to know

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

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a major Russian retreat into the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled towns and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large quantities of military equipment.

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

Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been in the field since the start of the war. Here are some of their most powerful works.

How you can help: Here’s how those in the United States can help support the people of Ukraine as well as what people around the world have donated.

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