According to US authorities, the HIMARS multiple launch fire system that Washington is providing to Ukraine is equipped with GMLRS missiles that have the range to strike targets in the Crimean peninsula.
The bulk of targets, including the entire Crimea, can be reached by the HIMARS fire systems that Washington has given to Kiev, according to Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and European relations.
We believe that the GMLRS missiles used on HIMARS can reach the majority of the battlefield’s (Russian) targets given their current capabilities, Cooper stated.
US officials claim that since Joe Biden took office, his government has committed more than $17.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, including $16.8 billion since the war in Russia. Ukraine erupted at the end of February.
Cooper made his remarks as US media reported that Ukraine appeared to have handed the US a complete list of Russian targets that it hoped to be able to hit, according to people familiar with the country’s leadership.
This is viewed as an effort to persuade US President Joe Biden’s administration to give Ukraine stronger, longer-range weaponry like the ATACMS missile used on the HIMARS fire system.
The GMLRS missiles that the US is giving Ukraine for use on the HIMARS system have a range of 70–80 km, whereas the ATACMS is a surface-to-surface missile with a range of 300 km.
The US has consistently denied Ukraine’s requests for longer-range weapons for Kiev.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan declared in July that the country will not give Ukraine ATACMS because of worries that they might be used to attack Russian territory, escalating the conflict. That might bring to World War III.
According to experts, Ukraine’s decision to offer the US a list of Russian targets is intended to prevent Kiev from using Washington’s armaments to attack Russian territory.
Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, recently accused the United States of joining the crisis in Ukraine with its enormous arms transfers to Kiev.
Russia currently views Crimea as a crucial region amid the military assault in Ukraine. Sevastopol, a port city in Crimea, serves as the base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet and is a significant military hub for Moscow.
Following a referendum, Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Russia turned Crimea into a military logistics hub for its soldiers after annexing it by investing in the construction of infrastructure like roads and bridges and deploying a lot of military hardware there.
When questioned about whether Ukraine might retake Crimea in a recent interview with Reuters, Zelensky responded as follows: “We must liberate the region because we have no other option or answer. area (of Crimea)”.
Recent comments by Ukraine about their intentions to reclaim the peninsula have increased rumors that Crimea could become the next hotly contested front between Russia and Ukraine.