Ukraine missile strike on Russian soil 'likely' used U.S. weapon system - (2024)

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Ukraine missile strike on Russian soil 'likely' used U.S. weapon system - (1)

A strike by Ukrainian forces on a Russian air-defense missile battery inside Russian territory at the weekend was likely carried out using a U.S.-made HIMARS weapons system, like the one pictured here, a leading American think-tank said Tuesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

June 4 (UPI) -- A strike by Ukrainian forces on a Russian air-defense missile battery inside Russian territory was likely carried out using a U.S.-made weapons system, a leading American think-tank said Tuesday.

The attack on the Russian S-300/400 battery north of Belogorod city about 25 miles from the Ukraine border over the weekend was probably conducted with a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, the Institute for the Study of War said in a post on X.


The Washington-based non-profit research group said the strike picked up on geolocation images of two destroyed launchers and a damaged air defense command post in a field near Kiselyovo village "was likely with HIMARS."

If confirmed, the strike would be the first time Ukraine has used U.S.-supplied weapons to strike at targets inside Russia since U.S. President Joe Biden cleared their use last week for limited strikes against military targets on Russian territory that pose an imminent threat amid Russia's offensive in Ukraine's northeast.

"Russian sources have increasingly claimed that Ukrainian forces are using HIMARS to strike Belgorod oblast since the United States partially lifted its restrictions on Ukraine's ability to use U.S.-provided weapons to strike military targets in Russian border areas with Kharkiv oblast," The Institute for the Study of War said.

"Russian sources will likely continue to characterise any successful strike in Belgorod Oblast as a HIMARS strike regardless of the system used."

The HIMARS launch system fires either Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets or a single long-range Army Tactical Missile System missile making its use a potential breach of Biden administration's waiver which made it clear that its "policy with respect to prohibiting the use ATACMS or long-range strikes inside of Russia has not changed."

A Ukrainian government official alluded to the new permissions but did not explicitly state U.S. weapons were used.

"It burns beautifully. It's a Russian S-300. On Russian territory. The first days after permission to use Western weapons on enemy territory," read the caption to a photo posted on social media by government minister Iryna Vereshchuk.

ISW warned authorization to use Western-supplied weapons against Russia was "crucial for Ukraine to to repel Russian glide bomb and missile strikes against Kharkiv city," backing plans by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to push Ukraine's Western partners harder to ease restrictions on how arms can be used and give the green light to hit targets inside Russia.


The call comes as Italy announced it would be providing Ukraine with a second Samp/T anti-ballistic missile air defense system -- Europe's answer to the U.S. Patriot Missile System -- which has the ability to track dozens of targets and intercept 10 simultaneously.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted that firing German and other Western-supplied weapons at targets on Russian soil would not "contribute to escalation."

Germany, which has been highly cautious on the issue reversed its position last week in step with Washington, saying Ukraine could use weapons provided to it by Germany in the battle for Kharkiv province which has been raging for almost a month.

"We are certain that it will not contribute to an escalation because -- as (U.S. President Joe Biden) has also described -- it is only a matter of being able to defend a large city like Kharkiv," Scholz said Monday in comments to a German radio station.

The speculation about the HIMARS strike came a day after the Kremlin issued a stark warning about the risks of escalating the conflict and a ramping up of the threat to security posed by allowing Ukraine to fire U.S.-supplied weapons into Russia.

"I would like to warn American leaders against miscalculations that could have fatal consequences," said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.


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Ukraine missile strike on Russian soil 'likely' used U.S. weapon system - (2024)
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