Russia says Ukraine using long-range US artillery 0

Moscow announced Tuesday it had for the first time downed a long-range rocket supplied to Ukraine by the United States, weapons Kyiv said were key to an anticipated counter-attack against Russian forces.

The statement from Russia’s defence ministry came a day after Ukraine said it received modern Leopard and Challenger battle tanks from Germany and the United Kingdom to push back Moscow’s army in east and southern Ukraine.

Fighting in recent months between Russian and Ukrainian forces has concentrated on the eastern city Bakhmut, and Kyiv says it is holding out in the Donetsk region urban hub to exhaust Russian forces and then more easily push them back.

“Air defence (forces) downed… a GLSDB guided rocket,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement, referring to ground-launched small diameter bombs produced by Boeing and the Saab Group.

These devices have a range of up to 150 kilometres (93 miles), which would threaten Russian positions and supply depots far behind the front lines.

The Pentagon announced last month it was providing Ukraine with the artillery as part of a $2.2 billion arms package.

“This gives them a longer-range capability… that will enable them to conduct operations in defence of their country and to take back their sovereign territory,” Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said at the time.

Ukraine had been asking the United States for munitions that can fly farther than the HIMARS rockets, which have an 80-kilometre range.

The West had been wary of supplying the weapons over concerns Kyiv could use them to target Russia.

HIMARS played an important role in Ukraine’s recapture of Kherson in the south last year but the GLSDB potentially gives Ukraine forces an ability to strike anywhere in the Russian-held parts of Ukraine.

‘Wear down’ Russian forces at Bakhmut

That could threaten key Russian supply lines, arms depots and air bases.

The Kremlin has consistently said the Western arms deliveries to Ukraine would ultimately not have any impact on the battlefield and only prolong the conflict and Ukrainians’ suffering.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky at the time tweeted his thanks to President Joe Biden for the new aid.

Source: AFP