Russia claims to destroy US-made Ukrainian rocket launchers

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Russia claims to destroy US-made Ukrainian rocket launchers

Russia claimed Friday to have already destroyed four of the long-range rocket systems sent to Ukraine by the US — but Kyiv says Moscow is lying.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Friday that four US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) had been destroyed in the fighting since July 5, all in the Ukrainian province of Donetsk, part of the Donbas region that has seen the heaviest fighting of the war.

Russian Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov told reporters the four rocket launchers and one support vehicle had been taken out by “high precision weapons,” according to Russian state-run news outlet TASS.

Ukraine has called the report “fake,” and says none of the high-tech rocket systems have been destroyed by Russian forces.

“Russia is trying to stop the supply of weapons from the West and intimidate Ukraine’s allies with the fictional power of Russia’s armed forces,” said Serhiy Leshchenko, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky’s chief of staff.

U.S. military forces fire a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket during the annual Philippines-US live fire amphibious landing exercise
The US supplied Ukraine with the long-range rocket systems in June.
Romeo Ranoco/REUTERS

“Russian propagandists are spreading fake news on the alleged destruction of HIMARS systems in Ukraine. Putin is trying to send a message to NATO – don’t support Ukraine, weapons will be destroyed,” he tweeted.

The HIMARS, a modern, truck-based American-made rocket system, has been billed by Ukraine as a game-changer in the war against Russia.

The system is more accurate and reliable than the soviet-era multiple-launch rocket systems fielded by both Russia and Ukraine.

US officials say the launchers allow Ukrainian forces to hit targets up to 50 miles away, though manufacturer Lockheed Martin indicates that — armed with the right rockets — a HIMARS system can hit targets at more than three times that distance.

The weapon was reportedly used earlier this week to damage a bridge leading into occupied Kherson, frustrating Russian logistics and supply lines.

The Russians’ disputed claims to have destroyed four HIMARS come as the White House announced it’s sending four more.

A $270 million security assistance package announced Friday includes four additional HIMARS rocket launchers and ammunition, alongside a bevy of tactical drones and conventional artillery rounds.

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is fired into the air in an undisclosed location.
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is fired into the air in an undisclosed location.
PAVLO NAROZHNYY via REUTERS

The US has sent Ukraine 12 HIMARS systems to date.

With Post wires

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