Pentagon chief Austin pledges more firepower to Ukraine for Russia fight


The United States is shipping four additional rocket launchers to Ukraine as part of the latest package of military assistance to counter Russia’s five-month-long invasion, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday following a virtual meeting of officials from more than 30 allied countries assisting Ukraine in the fight.

The security assistance, which also will include artillery ammunition and rockets, will be the 16th drawdown of firepower from the Pentagon’s own inventory since August 2021. Ukraine will have 16 HIMARS from the U.S. and four other rocket launchers from other allied countries once the shipment reaches them.

Mr. Austin said the U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) “have made such a difference on the battlefield.”

“As this fight rages on, [the allies] will keep finding innovative ways to sustain our long-term support for the brave men and women of the Ukrainian armed forces,” Mr. Austin said. 

The U.S. also has pledged two National/Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to Ukraine to help defend against Russian air attacks. Russian and Ukrainian forces are currently battling along a broad front in the disputed Donbas region of eastern and southern Ukraine.

“This is a critical phase of the conflict and so our collective support for Ukraine is vital and urgent,” Mr. Austin said. “Russia thinks it can outlast Ukraine, and outlast us. But that’s just the latest in Russia’s string of miscalculations.”

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