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WSJ: US Secretly Modified HIMARS Sent to Ukraine
By Staff, Agencies
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the HIMARS rocket launchers Ukraine received from Washington have been “secretly modified” so they can’t use longer-range missiles, even if Kiev obtained them from elsewhere.
A total of 20 of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System [HIMARS] launchers have been sent to Ukraine since June, along with several batches of GMLRS guided missiles and service vehicles. The GMLRS have a range of almost 80 kilometers [50 miles].
Multiple activists have since called for Ukraine to also receive ATACMS rockets, with a range of over 300 kilometers. The US has refused, so far. Even if the White House changes its mind, or Kiev manages to obtain the ATACMS – or similar long-range missiles – elsewhere, they won’t work in the HIMARS currently in the field, according to WSJ.
Citing anonymous US officials, the US daily underscored that “The modifications made to the systems before they were sent to Ukraine involve hardware and software."
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military declined to comment. So, did the Pentagon, citing “operational security considerations.”
According to WSJ, the modifications “reflect apprehensions among administration officials that their Ukrainian partner might stop keeping its promise not to strike Russian territory with US-provided weapons,” as well as the desire by President Joe Biden’s administration to “reduce the risk of a wider war” with Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly warned Washington that providing heavy weapons to Ukraine risks crossing Russia’s “red lines” and involving the US and NATO in the conflict directly. The US and its allies insist they are not a party to the hostilities, while continuing to arm Kiev.
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