Washington.– The United States secretly modified advanced Hymers rocket launchers delivered to Ukraine so that they could not be used to fire long-range missiles. against Russia, US officials have said, a precaution the Biden administration considers necessary to reduce the risk of a wider war with Moscow.
Since June, the United States has supplied the Ukrainian army 20 Launchers of High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMAR) and a large inventory of satellite-guided rockets with a range of about 80 kilometers, These rockets, known as Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS), have been used to attack Russian ammunition depots, logistics supply and command centers on Ukrainian soil.
But the HIMERS launchers have a unique change that aims to prevent them from becoming an even more powerful system on the battlefield. US officials claim The Pentagon has modified the launchers so that they cannot fire long-range missilesIncluding US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACS) rockets which have a range of about 200 miles.
Revisions, so far unpublished, show How far has the Biden administration gone to balance its support for the Ukrainian military against the risk of escalating tensions with Moscow, they also reflect US officials fear their Ukrainian partner will fail to keep its promise not to attack Russian territory with US-supplied weapons.
Two Russian airbases were rocked by explosions on Monday, including one that serves as a base for long-range bombers. The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine had used drones to carry out the attacks, which damaged two planes and killed three Russian servicemen. There is no evidence that US-supplied weapons were used in the attacks.
Kyiv did not formally claim responsibility for the attack, but Ukrainian officials indicated they had the capability to strike inside Russia, After the attack, Russia fired missiles at Ukraine.
The United States has refrained from supplying long-range Atax missiles to Ukraine. But the amendments ensure that even if Ukraine acquires them from other sources, it will not be able to use US-provided Himer launchers. s.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the changes, which US officials say impress yourself hardware why software,
“For operational security reasons, we do not comment publicly on the configuration of systems provided to allies and partners,” said Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman. “The United States remains committed to providing Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to counter Russian aggression.”
The White House, which administration officials say has been involved in key decisions about weapons in Ukraine, declined to comment.
The Ukrainian military declined to comment.
The Biden administration has repeatedly stressed that the decision on a possible diplomatic solution with Russia rests with Kyiv and that Washington aims to put Ukraine in the strongest possible position if peace talks take place. but The military support that the United States and its allies have provided to Kyiv has conditioned what Ukraine has been able to achieve on the battlefield.
Since Russia amassed forces to invade Ukraine in February, the United States has gradually expanded the types of weapons it is willing to provide Kyiv. javelin anti tank missile Shot over the shoulder, which was the first time Ukraine had received it during the Trump administration.
After months of internal discussions on how to provide stinger anti-aircraft missiles Without any classified equipment, the first Stingers from US stocks arrived in Ukraine in late February, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion.
In April, he was already deported to Ukraine abuses M777, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in May that Denmark would provide harpoon antiship missile American made and a coastal launcher to fire them.
Later that month, US officials said they would provide Hymers on wheels. These launchers will be used to fire Gmlrs, which have almost twice the range of howitzers.
To avoid the risk of escalation, the United States introduced the President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged that the launchers would not be used to attack targets on Russian territory. Ukraine has followed through on that commitment, which Ukrainian officials say Kyiv can be trusted with for long-range weapons.
The Pentagon said in August that it had provided High Velocity Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs), That Ukraine fires its Soviet-era fighter jets to attack Russian radars.
But the White House has moved cautiously, weighing the military gains for Kyiv against the risk of escalating with Moscow, in a balance that has left Ukraine No long-range US missile that could hit Russian naval headquarters, Air Force and logistics units in Crimea In possession of military property in Russia or on Russian territory.
America has refused to give Gray Eagle MQ-1C drone amid concerns from the Pentagon that they could be used to attack targets in Russia.
Ukraine’s hopes of acquiring Western aircraft in the near term have also been dashed. By the Biden administration, although the United States has not refused to supply them in a few years, once the Ukrainian conflict is resolved.
is one of the main systems the Russians have warned Washington not to provide privately and publicly long-range surface-to-surface missilesSuch as Atkas missiles, which can be fired from HIMARS launchers and can reach Russian territory.
“If Washington decides to supply Kyiv with long-range missiles, it will be crossing a red line and becoming a direct part of the conflict.”Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in Sept.
President Biden announced in May that the United States would not provide Ukraine with “rocket systems that could reach Russia”.
Russia’s demand not to attack Kyiv comes at a time when US and European officials are debating whether the Biden administration has been too cautious When providing military assistance to Ukraine.
This controversy has heated up Russia has bombed Ukraine’s infrastructuredepriving millions of citizens of electricity, heat and water, firing missiles from Russian soil and launching Iranian-made drones from bases in Russian-occupied Crimea.
The United States and its allies have tried to help Ukraine by increasing their arsenal of air defenses. But collaborative efforts have made slow progress. Although Ukrainian officials claim that about 80% of the offending missiles have been shot down, the ones that made it have disabled about 50% of Ukraine’s power grid.Although Ukrainian activists are trying to restore it.
On one side of the debate are experts such as Charles Kupchan, head of the National Security Council for Europe during the Obama administration, who defend it. The United States should continue to limit the scope and sophistication of weapons supplied to UkraineTo reduce the risk of a wider conflict with Russia.
“The United States should refrain from encouraging or facilitating a Ukrainian effort to completely expel Russian forces from all of its territory, including Crimea, a war objective that Putin would risk greatly provoking. [el presidente ruso Vladimir] To commit even more reckless actions, including the possible use of nuclear weapons,” Kupchan said.
The other side includes some former office bearers of the alliance. They say that by denying Ukraine long-range missiles and launchers that could fire them, the West has, in effect, given Russia the right to fire ballistic and cruise missiles and drone strikes into Ukraine from Crimea and its own territory. given a free hand. Without any fear that Kyiv might fight back.
He said, ‘After October 10, Putin has changed his strategy.’ wall street journal Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark, who was Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from 2009 to 2014. “It has escalated the war by attacking civilian infrastructure, including the energy grid. Potentially we are now facing a humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine, and we have not adapted.”
“To stop Putin you have to stop, for example, by launching long-range missiles”He added.
Michael R. by Gordon and Gordon Lubold
wall street journal