An advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told The Guardian that Ukraine needs many more rocket systems than the US and Britain have pledged to send.
Last week, the US announced it will give Ukraine four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS. The UK said it is sending a handful of M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), which have a similar capability as the HIMARS. Both systems will be outfitted with rockets that can hit targets up to 50 miles away.
Zelensky aide Oleksiy Arestovych said Ukraine needs 60 rocket launchers to stop Russia’s forces. “The fewer we get, the worse our situation will be. Our troops will continue to die and we will continue to lose ground,” he said.
Arestovych said if Ukraine receives 40 rocket launchers, Russian forces will still be able to advance, but with “heavy casualties.” With 20 rocket launchers, he said the battlefield situation would be similar to the current one but with “higher casualties.”
Since President Biden recently signed a bill allocating $40 billion for new Ukraine aid, which will mostly go toward military assistance, it’s likely the US will send Kyiv more rocket systems, but only time will tell how much impact the weapons have against Russia. Ukrainian forces still need to be trained on the systems, which the Pentagon said would take at least three weeks.
Russia has warned that the rocket systems to Ukraine will lead to an escalation in the war as they are the longest-range weapon the West has provided. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Moscow will push Ukrainian forces further back from the Russian border to defend against longer-range arms. Both the US and the UK have said they received assurances from the Ukrainian government that they wouldn’t use the rockets to target Russian territory.