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Russia Restarts Gas Flow to Germany: Ukraine War Updates

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Russia Restarts Gas Flow to Germany: Ukraine War Updates

Credit…Fayez Nureldine/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The United States said on Wednesday it would send four more advanced multi-rocket launch vehicles to Ukraine as Russia’s foreign minister made it clear that Moscow’s territorial ambitions extend beyond Ukraine’s eastern territories.

Rocket launchers, which can unleash salvos with devastating effects comparable to airstrikes by jets loaded with precision-guided bombs, are part of a series of new long-range weapons that the United States has been supplying to the underpowered Ukrainian military. They emphasized Washington’s determination to help counter Russia’s military might and President Vladimir V. Putin’s goal of conquering the sovereign state of Ukraine.

But until recently, Russia has made gradual but steady gains on the battlefield, and Ukraine faces an uphill battle for equality on the battlefield while its Western allies struggle to keep up with Ukraine’s seemingly insatiable arms needs. There is disagreement between Ukrainian and U.S. officials over what to do.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday that four more advanced multi-rocket launch vehicles would bring the total U.S. supply to 16.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced that the U.S. military will deploy additional advanced rocket systems to help Ukraine defend itself.CreditCredit…Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Mikhailo Podoljak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in June that Ukraine needs 300 multiple rocket systems and 500 tanks, among other things, to better compete with the troops Russia can deploy. This is several times more than what Ukraine has promised.

Michael Vickers, a former senior civilian official in charge of the Pentagon’s counterinsurgency strategy, said this month that the Ukrainians would need at least 60, possibly as many as 100 HIMARS or other multiple rocket systems to win the artillery battle.

Another question for arms transfers is how long U.S. resolve will last amid high oil prices and a growing European and U.S. need for national sacrifice. The Biden administration has also been hesitant to provide weapons that could enter Russian soil and have the potential to spark a wider war.

Mr. Austin said more than a dozen M142 HIMARS — an acronym for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems — have been made available in Pentagon stockpiles that have already made a difference on the battlefield. Ukrainian soldiers used them to destroy Russian command and control centers and ammunition depots. Each M142 HIMARS truck carries six guided rockets loaded with 200 pounds of high explosives and can hit targets 50 miles away.

“It affects the tempo of the fight and may create some opportunities here,” Mr Austin said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done – HIMARS alone won’t change and won’t win or lose a battle.”

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said this week that the Ukrainian military needs at least 100 U.S. launchers to “become a game-changer on the battlefield.” He said HIMARS and other rocket launchers that had been shipped to Ukraine helped destroy about 30 Russian command posts and ammunition storage units.

“This has greatly slowed Russia’s advance and greatly reduced the intensity of their shelling,” Reznikov said in an online interview Tuesday at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research group. “So it worked.”

As the West continues to debate what needs to be done to rein in Russian troops, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov said on Wednesday that Russia’s ambitions in Ukraine now extend beyond the country’s eastern territories, in line with the Kremlin Miyagi’s earlier claims were not waging wars of imperial expansion.

As Ukraine intensifies its attack on Russian troops in southern Ukraine, which could be a prelude to a large-scale counteroffensive, Mr. Lavrov said Moscow was also eyeing the Kherson and Zaporizka regions in southern Ukraine, some of which were Russian troops occupied, as well as “some other areas”.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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