The United States intends to send four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and more long-range missiles to Ukraine, bringing the total number of transferred HIMARS to 16, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said today.
The formal announcement is expected later this week and will be the 16th such transfer of military equipment from U.S. stocks to Ukraine using presidential “drawdown authority” since the start of an ongoing Russian invasion earlier this year.
The weapons transfers, Austin said, are “making a real difference in real time.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine is still heavily contested, despite Russian gains.
“Is the Donbas lost? No, it's not lost yet,” he said, noting the region is now home to a “grinding war of attrition.”
On some days, he said, Russian military gains can be measured in hundreds of meters.
“Collectively, we cannot allow the strong to conquer the weak,” Milley said. “The president of the United States has directed that we stand by Ukraine in their hour of need.”
That, Austin said, will mean more weapons transfers and continued training of the Ukrainian military. Last week, the United States announced a transfer of precision munitions to Ukraine.
Milley said most U.S. equipment ordered to Ukraine is shipped within 24 to 48 hours and then makes its way to the front lines of battle within a week or two. Austin said more than 200 Ukrainians have been trained to use the HIMARS.
Though he declined to discuss future weapons transfers, Austin said the United States and its foreign allies are “looking ahead to provide Ukraine with the capabilities that it will need for deterrence and self-defense over the long term.”