Russia Not Destroyed HIMARS in Ukraine Despite Claims: Pentagon

  • General Mark Milley said Wednesday that Russia has not “eliminated” US-donated HIMARS.
  • This stands in stark contrast to Russian claims of having destroyed four of them.
  • HIMARS are a prized weapon in Ukraine’s attempt to hold Russia back in the east of the country.

Russia has not destroyed any of the HIMARS artillery which the US gave to Ukraine, General Mark Milley said.

Speaking at a Wednesday Pentagon press conference, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said: “To date, those systems have not been eliminated by the Russians.”

Milley acknolwedged that the systems are at risk, adding “I knock on wood every time I say something like that.”

His statement contradicted several claims by Russian officials and media outlets to have destroyed the prized weapons, which Ukraine lobbied hard for and says give it a much-needed way to blunt Russia’s invasion.

The HIMARS — short for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System — has proved crucial in attempts to hold back Russia’s advance in the eastern Donbas where it is focusing its troops.

The truck-like mounted units can fire precision-targeted heavy artillery around 50 miles, depending on the rounds used.

The US has given Ukraine 12 units so far, with another four on the way, Milley said.

His remarks followed several Russian claims to have destroyed as many as four of them.

In a briefing reported by the state-operated media outlet Zvezda, a Russian defense ministry spokesperson said Russian forces had destroyed four HIMARS launchers between the dates of July 5 and July 20.

Two of these were in Malotaranovka in the Donbas, according to a July 6 Russian MOD Telegram post, which also said it had destroyed two ammunition depots for the weapon.

Milley did not specifically address the Russian claims in his briefing, instead saying in broad terms that the HIMARS had not been destroyed.

Neither the Pentagon nor the Russian Embassy in London immediately responded to Insider’s out-of-hours request for comment.

As well as supplying the units themselves, the Pentagon is sending hundreds of rounds for them and providing training in how to use them.

The HIMARS had been used “against Russian command and control nodes, their logistical networks, their field artillery near defense sites and many other targets,” Milley said. Strikes made by HIMARS were “steadily degrading” Russia’s efforts, he said.

CNN footage shot from the Ukrainian frontline in the Donbas in early July showed a HIMARS in operation, clearly prized by its Ukrainian operators.

As Insider’s Alia Shoaib reported, Ukraine has been forced to switch tactics since Russia began to focus its efforts in the east of the country, where Russia has made significant gains.

If Russia is held back, commentators are predicting a bloody “slugfest” in which a lengthy stalemate is possible.

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