Outgunned Ukrainians Hail Arrival Of U.S. Heavy Weapons As Russians
June 23, 2022
Russian forces, backed by massive artillery power, pressed ahead with
their offensive to completely encircle Ukraine's last pocket of
resistance in the Luhansk region as Kyiv announced the arrival of the
first U.S. long-range weapons systems the outgunned Ukrainians have been
waiting on for months.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on June 23 that High
Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from the United States are
now in Ukraine.
"Thank you to my U.S. colleague and friend Defense Secretary Lloyd
Austin for these powerful tools! Summer will be hot for Russian
occupiers. And the last one for some of them," he said on Twitter.
It was not immediately known when the HIMARS had entered the country or
if they were already being used on the front line.
The HIMARS is a multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) developed for the
U.S. military in the 1970s. Both Russia and Ukraine already operate MLRS
systems, but the six-rocket HIMARS is more advanced, with a range of 80
kilometers and superior precision.
Kyiv has asked for 300 such systems, but Washington has only donated
four so far. Germany will also send three such systems to Ukraine,
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on June 23.
The heavy use of artillery and the recent troop reinforcement was likely
behind Russia's improved military performance in the Luhansk cities of
Lysycyhansk and its twin city Syevyerodonetsk, Britain's Ministry of
Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin early on June 23.
Luhansk military Governor Serhiy Hayday said on June 23 that the
villages of Loskutyvka and Rai-Oleksandryvka, south of Lysychansk and
Syevyerodonetsk, have now fallen to the Russians.
He said Ukrainian forces continue to resist in Syevyerodonetsk and the
nearby settlements of Zolote and Vovchoyrovka.
Hayday said Ukrainian forces are facing "massive" and relentless
artillery attacks in Lysychansk and may need to retreat to avoid being
cut off after Russian forces captured the two settlements to its south.
"In order to avoid encirclement, our command could order that the troops
retreat to new positions," Hayday said on national television. "All of
Lysychansk is within reach of their fire. It is very dangerous in the
But he said Lysychansk could still be reached by road, allowing civilian
evacuations to continue. Russia's TASS news agency had earlier cited
Russia-backed separatists as saying the city was surrounded and cut off
The fight for Syevyerodonetsk and Lysychansk is "entering a sort of
fearsome climax," said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President
Russia seeks to capture both Luhansk and Donetsk, which make up most of
Ukraine's industrial heartland of Donbas.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration,
said Ukrainian forces control less than half of the Donetsk region,
adding that more than 100 cities and villages within these areas had no
gas or electricity.
Kyrylenko said that the 55 percent of Donetsk that is under Russian
occupation is "completely destroyed."
However, British intelligence noted in its bulletin that Russian efforts
to achieve a deeper encirclement to take the Donetsk region west of
Luhansk remain stalled.
Arestovych said in a video address that Russia launched the most
intensive strikes in weeks on Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city,
adding that they were aimed at "terrorizing the population."
The shelling, which caused at least 10 deaths in the Kharkiv region over
two days, was mean to "distract us and force us to divert troops" from
the main battlefields in the Donbas, Arestovych said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a group of European newspapers
that the defense intelligence service believes that Russia's momentum in
the war in Ukraine will slow in the next few months as its army exhausts
In the next few months, Britain’s intelligence service believes that
Russia “could come to a point at which there is no longer any forward
momentum because it has exhausted its resources," Johnson was quoted as
we must help the Ukrainians to reverse the dynamic. I will argue for
this at the Group of Seven (G7) summit,” he said.
The G7 summit, bringing together the heads of state of Britain, Canada,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, is scheduled to
begin on June 26 in Germany.
"Inasmuch as the Ukrainians are in a position to start a
counteroffensive, it should be supported with equipment that they demand
from us," he said.
A victory for Ukraine -- or failure for Russia -- would at least see
Ukraine regain the status quo that was there before Russia invaded, he