Ukraine shelling of Russia reliant on US precision targeting: WashPo
Ukraine admits to receiving intelligence from the United States on what and where to strike when it comes to Russian targets.
Kiev's forces require the United States and its allies to provide them with coordinates and confirm them for the overwhelming majority of missile strikes on Russian targets, Ukrainian officials said, as quoted by The Washington Post.
The practice previously kept veiled, reveals that the Pentagon and Kiev's western allies are playing a bigger role in the Ukraine war.
According to WashPo, three senior Ukrainian officials and a senior US official confirmed this affair months into surprisingly accurate and damaging Ukrainian shelling of Russian positions on the frontlines with Ukraine, such as barracks, headquarters, and ammunition depots, using US-provided HIMARS or M270 MLRS.
The revelations of this report have major implications, as they mean that the United States is using Ukraine as a weapon to strike Russian troops and sites using long-range weapons supplied by Washington in the midst of the Ukraine war.
A senior Ukrainian official boldly revealed that Kiev's forces almost never use their advanced weapons against Russia without having US military personnel provide them with intelligence and coordinates from a base in Europe.
All in all, the process has prompted Ukrainian officials to use it to argue for longer-range weapons from the West such as the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), saying the exchange should give Washington confidence about providing them with such arms.
"You're controlling every shot anyway, so when you say, 'We're afraid that you’re going to use it for some other purposes,' well, we can't do it even if we want to," the senior Ukrainian official said, according to WashPo.
A senior US official, on the other hand, also confirmed the US role in the shelling of Russian targets, saying the assistance aimed to ensure accuracy and conserve limited stores of ammunition for maximum effectiveness.
The US provides coordinates and precise targeting information solely in an advisory role, the official said, as disclosed to The Washington Post under the condition of anonymity.
His Ukrainian counterpart said the targeting process goes as follows: Ukrainian military personnel identify targets they seek to strike, and they send this information to their seniors who proceed to request more accurate coordinates from the United States. If the Ukrainian troops do not receive the coordinates from their US seniors then they do not fire, the officials revealed.
The United States is clearly complicit in the Ukrainian rocket attack on a hospital in Novoaidar in the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), which resulted in the deaths of 14 people and the injury of 24 more, Russia's first permanent deputy to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said in late January.
The diplomat described it as "another Ukrainian heinous war crime " emphasizing that "US-supplied missiles [killed] 14 civilians at a hospital."
"As we know from Ukrainian officials, the targets of HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) are agreed by Washington so it makes the US directly complicit. US taxpayers should be aware of how their money is used," Polyansky said.
According to the Russian MoD, the Ukrainian armed forces deliberately attacked a hospital in Novoaidar in late January using rocket-propelled rounds from a US-made HIMARS multiple-launch rocket system. 24 people were injured following the attack in addition to 14 patients and medical staff also perished.
The Russian Defense Ministry noted that the Novoaidar hospital has been providing medical care to local residents and service members for many months. This healthcare was being provided by both civilian and military health personnel.
Moreover, the Pentagon announced a new rocket-propelled precision bomb that may nearly increase Kiev's strike range against the Russians as part of a new $2.2 billion US arms deal for Ukraine.
Ground-launched small-diameter bombs (GLSDB), a weapon with a maximum range of 150 kilometers, are also part of the new package, according to Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder. These bombs pose a threat to Russian troops and depots that are located far from the front lines.
"This gives them a longer range capability ... that will enable them to conduct operations in defense of their country and to take back their sovereign territory," Ryder said.
Ukraine had requested weapons with a range greater than the HIMARS rockets' 80 km range.
With the GLSDB, Ukrainian forces may be able to launch attacks anywhere in Crimea, Zaporozhye, and Kherson areas, as well as the Donbass. Important Russian supply routes, arsenals, and air bases may be in jeopardy as a result.