Why Has Russia Claimed to Have Destroyed Two US-Made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) Missile Launchers?

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Earlier this week, the Russian defense ministry claimed that its forces destroyed two HIMARS in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. It was also alleged that Russian forces destroyed two ammunition depots after capturing the Luhansk region over the weekend. These allegations emerge following the U.S.' recent provision of four HIMARS to Ukraine as their war against Russia wages on. [i]

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, are sophisticated missile launchers capable of firing long-range missiles at targets 185 miles away. The provided HIMARS missile launchers can carry six "precision-guided missiles," with reloads taking mere minutes when " trained soldiers perform." [ii]

Because the HIMARS uses a three-axle wheeled chassis, it maneuvers less like a tank and more comparable to a commercial semi-truck allowing for rapid relocation after firing missiles. The U.S. provision of "western weapon supplies have been crucial to Ukraine's efforts to push back the tens of thousands of Russian troops." [iii]

Ukraine now has precision long-range artillery capability with the four HIMARS provided. The U.S. has also pledged to deliver four more. The HIMARS missile launchers further assist Ukraine in its ability to "carefully select targets" to undermine Russian efforts more systematically. The security package provided to Ukraine is estimated at $700 million. [iv]

Ukraine refutes Russia's accounts that it has destroyed two of the US-supplied HIMARS. Ukraine attributes Russia's outlandish claims to Russia's recognizing that the HIMARS "inflict 'devastating blows' on Russian forces." Additionally, as already recognized by Twitter Sleuths aplenty, the 'video evidence' provided by Russian forces is not just poorly shot; it is indiscernible whether the US-supplied HIMARS were, in fact, destroyed. What other potential reasoning could Russia have for adamantly insisting they destroyed the HIMARS? [v]


[i] Reuters, Russia says it destroyed two U.S. HIMARS in east Ukraine, Kyiv rejects claim, (Jul. 6, 2022)

[ii] Christiaan Hetzner, Ukraine thanks U.S. for 'game changing' weapons system: But what is the HIMARS? (Jul. 5, 2022)

[iii] Id.

[iv] Howard Altman, Ukraine Disputes Russia's Proofless Claim it Destroyed HIMARS Launchers, (Jul. 6, 2022)

[v] Reuters, Russia says it destroyed two U.S. HIMARS in east Ukraine, Kyiv rejects claim, (Jul. 6, 2022)

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Currently pursuing a Juris Doctor at Western State, writer Charnell Gilchrist is writing her way through law school.

Aliso Viejo, CA

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