Artillery price

US sends precision artillery shells to Ukraine and additional HIMARS

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The United States will send Ukraine an additional $400 million in military assistance with a strong focus on long-range, high-precision weapons, the Pentagon said. Friday.

The package consists of four high-mobility artillery rocket systems, also known as HIMARS, adding to the eight that Washington has already delivered to Kyiv. It also includes 1,000 rounds of what a senior US defense official called a “new type” of 155mm ammunition for use in howitzer guns. which were part of previous transfers. These rounds – which officials declined to identify themselves by name, citing security concerns – aim to bolster Ukraine ability to target Russian military assets.

The senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with ground rules set by the Pentagon, said the weapons’ accuracy should be more effective than standard cartridges. Ukrainian forces currently employ. Kyiv officials say they use between 5,000 and 6,000 standard artillery rounds per day; the US official said the burn rate of these weapons would be much lower.

“We know what their utilization rate is. We know what their in-store pricing is,” the manager said. “The Ukrainians have asked for more precision capability, and HIMARS is not the limit of what the United States is able to provide them in terms of precision capability.”

Ukraine disperses its arsenal to protect its weapons from Russian strikes

The conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region has been marked by fierce battles and heavy shelling, allowing Russia to make slow but steady gains while suffering heavy losses. A senior Ukrainian claimed official this week that 36,000 Russian soldiers and 12,000 mercenaries have been killed in action. The Pentagon declined to offer such estimates.

At this point, Russia appears to control the entire Luhansk region, having captured the city of Severodonetsk late last month. Commanders are trying to expand their gains in the Donetsk region, moving south from Izyum, which has been under Russian control since April. They target Sloviansk, a strategically key city near the region’s western border, but the effort is slow.

A senior US military official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, speculated on Friday that Russian forces could soon run out if they advanced without a break.

“If I took the number of losses the Russians suffered to gain this stretch of ground, I would probably have to stop and recover,” the official said.

Arms influx into Ukraine raises fears of arms smuggling

Friday’s announcement comes as some members of Congress accuse the Pentagon of misrepresenting where US military assistance ends up once transferred to Ukraine and of failing to guarantee it does not fall into the wrong hands.

“Where I think we are, if not blind, at least legally blind, is in how the equipment is used, what are the expenditure rates for ammunition, are there leaks to the black market, does the Department of Defense play favorites,” Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) said in a recent interview. “We, from a congressional oversight perspective, have a responsibility now for billions of taxpayer dollars to get a better idea of ​​where it goes, who it goes to, and how it is used.”

For now, it appears that the United States relies primarily on the Ukrainian military to provide visibility into the destination of weapons once transferred.

“From the moment we send the capabilities to Ukraine, deliver them to Ukraine, they move to the battlefield, our military leaders, our experts and our professionals are in communication with the Ukrainians to understand how they are deploying these capacities, what is their utilization rate. said the top US defense official. “We are following this very closely and we are very aware of our duties and obligations to remain aware of the capabilities we are providing to Ukraine.”

Despite recent Russian conquests, the administration has sought to project optimism that Ukraine can still gain the upper hand, with the help of additional capabilities. When asked on Friday if the Kremlin has any momentum, the senior defense official called Russia’s progress “very, very incremental, limited, strenuous, [and] very expensive. »

“We don’t see this at all as Russia winning this battle,” the official said. “But the fighting is tough, and the Ukrainians have to fight hard to prevent the Russians from achieving their goal.”

The question remains, however, whether the West’s will to continue supplying Ukraine with arms will last as long as the Ukrainians want to defend their territory.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech this week that artillery is “finally” and “powerfully” having an impact on the battlefield, according to reports. In Moscow, meanwhile, the Russian parliament this week adopted economic control measures to send more weapons and repair capabilities to the front line – a sign that his resources may be running out.