HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems and ammunition provided by the United States will allow the Ukrainian military to hit targets in Crimea according to Laura Cooper, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, at a Pentagon briefing on October 4.

“It’s our assessment that with the existing GMLRS capability they have on a HIMARS and that we are providing more of with this package, they can reach the vast majority of targets on the battlefield, including Crimea. And just to be clear, Crimea is Ukraine,” Сooper said.

Ukraine is asking urgently for modern tanks to help their forces seize on rapid gains in the northeast and take additional territory, but the West is dragging its feet. The Pentagon considers it impractical to supply them to Ukraine, so they will continue to supply Soviet samples. This is explained by the fact that Kyiv has a repair base for Soviet tanks and no one needs to be retrained. The main problem with Western technology is maintenance and repair, the West cannot fix it quickly.

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“We absolutely agree that Ukrainians need tanks. The U.S. has worked with allies to support Ukraine with (one) thousand armored tanks so far. We definitely see the need for tanks. The easiest to provide immediately, and to be immediately deported to the battlefield, are Soviet-type tanks which Ukrainians know how to operate, but more importantly, is that they know how to repair them, and they have spare parts,” Cooper stressed.

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Cooper also noted that the Pentagon appreciates Congress’s support in lobbying the Lend-Lease law, but right now Washington is focused on the supply of weapons that the president allocates, which makes it possible to give weapons to Ukraine free of charge using money from the US government treasury.

HIMARS systems, mentioned by Laura Cooper during the Pentagon briefing, are part of the recently allocated $625 million in military aid. On Tuesday, Oct. 4, President Biden pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes. The new military aid package includes weapons, equipment, HIMARS, artillery systems, ammunition, and armored vehicles.

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Currently, the Ukrainian army has more than 20 HIMARS, M270 and MARS multiple rocket launcher systems in service. In total, the United States has provided more than $16.8 billion military aid to Ukraine to fight Russia.

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