The Russian military extended its grip on territory in eastern Ukraine as it seeks to cut supply lines and encircle frontline Ukrainian forces, while the Ukrainian military announced Thursday the arrival of powerful US multiple-launch rocket systems it hopes will offer a battlefield advantage.
Ukrainian forces withdrew from some areas near the city of Lysychansk to avoid being surrounded as Russians sent in reinforcements and concentrated their firepower in the area, Britain’s Defense Ministry said. The city is located in Luhansk province, a major battlefield in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.
Ukraine’s General Staff said Russian forces took control of the villages of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka, and were trying to capture Syrotyne, a settlement outside the province’s administrative center, Sievierodonetsk. Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai told The Associated Press that the Russians were “burning everything out” in their offensive to encircle Ukraine’s fighters.
“The Russians are advancing without trying to spare the ammunition or troops, and they aren’t running out of either,” Haidai said. “They have an edge in heavy artillery and the number of troops.”
After repeated requests to its Western allies for heavier weaponry to counter Russia’s edge in firepower, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said a response had arrived in the form of the medium-range American rocket launchers.
The US will send an addition $450 million in military aid to Ukraine, including four more of the medium-range rocket systems, ammunition and other supplies, US officials announced Thursday.
Analysts said the advanced systems would give Ukrainian forces greater precision in hitting Russian targets. Mykola Sunhurovsky of the Razumkov Center, a Kyiv-based think tank, said the HIMARS have a longer range, more precision and higher rate of fire compared with similar Soviet-designed systems that Russia and Ukraine have used during the four-month war.