‘Could be gamechanger’ Russia on brink as US rocket systems to wipe out advance benefit

Ukraine: US M142 rocket could be a 'game changer' says expert

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Ukraine is in line to receive the M142 rocket system from the United States in what could be a “game-changer” in the fightback against Russia says Defence and security analyst Professor Michael Clarke. The rocket artillery has the power to fire further than Russian artillery which would give Ukrainian forces a serious edge in the struggle to hold onto the Donbas. 

Mr Clarke told Sky News: “The weapons he’s talking about are potentially the game-changer, we always talk about game-changers but this one could be.

“This is the M-142 it’s a multiple launch rocket system and it has a range of about 45 miles, and the point is most Russian artillery standard artillery has a range of about 18 miles.

“This can outrange them and it’s very, very accurate.

“Now the Russians have their own similar systems and this is the big one here that we’re showing, the Russians have a Grad rocket system which goes back to the 1960s, real cold war stuff that’s got a range of about 25 miles.

“And then the more modern SMERSH has got a range of about 45 to 48 miles.”

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He added: “The point about the M 142 is it’s so accurate, it can actually take these guys out, plus all of the howitzers so that is the standard Russian artillery.

“If the Ukrainians get enough of these quickly enough, it would negate the key advantage that the Russians have, which is artillery.

“The Russians use artillery all the time and they rely on it.

“If this thing arrives in the way the Ukrainians would like and of course, they would have liked it two months ago, then it really can undermine that benefit that the Russians get which has allowed them to do so much damage in Sievierodonetsk.”

Russian troops on Wednesday pressed closer to the centre of a factory city in their drive to grab a swathe of eastern Ukraine.

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Ukraine’s General Staff said Russian forces, now 98 days into their invasion, were pounding infrastructure in eastern and southern regions including the symbolically important industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, which they entered on May 27. It has been the main focus of their ground offensive for several weeks.

Sievierodonetsk is a Soviet-era city that houses a large chemical factory. According to the local governor, a Russian airstrike hit a large chemical plant in the city on Tuesday, blowing up a tank of toxic nitric acid.

Russia “attacked the Azov factory from a plane, resulting in the release of toxic substances,” Governor Serhiy Gaidai said, urging residents to remain inside. 

President Joe Biden announced the supply of precision rocket systems and munitions that could strike at long-range Russian targets, part of a $700 million weapons package expected to be unveiled on Wednesday.

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Mr Biden wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times: “We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.”

A senior Biden administration official said the new supplies – which comes on top of billions of dollars worth of equipment such as drones and anti-aircraft missiles – included the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which Kyiv has said is “crucial” to counter Russian missile attacks.

Ukraine welcomed the West’s supply of weapons, which has included M777 howitzers deployed along the frontline in the Luhansk region that includes Sieverodonetsk, although regional governor Gaidai decried a “rose-coloured” view of the situation.

He added: “Weapons are coming but not in the volumes we wanted.

“There will be no victory just in an instant because of the 777 howitzers.”

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