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Washington will send advanced missile systems to Kiev

Washington will send advanced missile systems to Kiev

As fighting continues in eastern Ukraine between Russian and Ukrainian forces, the administration of US President Joe Biden is expected to announce next week the dispatch of long-range missile systems to Kyiv that it says are necessary to counter the Russian offensive in Donbass region.

Among the weapons expected to be provided by the United States are the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, or MLRS, which are mobile artillery launchers that can fire shells dozens of miles and farther than any current system Ukraine has, US officials confirmed Friday.

High Mobility Artillery Rockets

The United States is also expected to give Ukraine the highly mobile artillery missile systems known as HIMARs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The HIMARS is a light multiple rocket launcher with a range similar to the MLRS. But unlike MLRS, which move on tracks, Hymars move on a wheeled chassis.

Donbass (Aystock)

In addition, both systems would give Ukraine greater mobility than the M777 howitzers, which the United States is still sending to Kyiv.

It is unclear how many new systems the United States will provide, but one official said they could reach Ukraine within weeks.

The United States also said Ukrainian forces would need at least a week of training to use them.

Russian advance in Donbass

Meanwhile, on Friday, Russian forces made new gains in heavy fighting in the Donbass region and were battling Ukrainian forces in the streets of Severodonetsk.

Ukrainian officials said Ukrainian forces withdrew from Lyman, the latest city in Donbas to fall to Russian forces in the region in recent days.

A Ukrainian missile launcher bombed a position of Russian forces near Luhansk in the Donbass (AFP archive)

A Ukrainian missile launcher bombed a position of Russian forces near Luhansk in the Donbass (AFP archive)

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Whereas, if the Russian advance continues, the Ukrainian forces fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine-administered Donbass could fall into the encirclement of the Russian forces, which would be considered a major defeat for Kiev.

In the face of this Russian advance to the east, Kyiv renewed its demand for more heavy and effective weapons. And the commander of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valery Zaluzhny, demanded on the Telegram application more Western weapons, especially “weapons that will allow to strike the enemy from a distance.” As he says.

It is noteworthy that since last March, the Russian forces launched the second phase of their military operations on Ukrainian territory, in order to control the Donbass region, whose residents Russia considers to have been subjected to several violations by Kyiv.

Moscow is seeking to control this important region, especially since if it is able to do so, it will succeed in linking the regions in the east with the Crimea (south), which it annexed to its territory in 2014.