Ukraine: Artillery troops use British rocket systems

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Britain’s multiple-launch rocket systems are said to be causing real damage to Russian troops and forcing them to retreat, proving to be a major help for Ukraine turning the tide in the war. The UK’s M270 Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems can strike targets up to 80km away with precision-guided rockets that are extremely accurate. According to a military commander, the cutting-edge weapons, along with German donations, have been responsible for 30 percent of Ukrainian successes in the east. The anonymous source told Sky News: “Thanks to these weapons, we’ve carried out really high priority missions.” They added: “This is one of the key factors, which influenced the Russian army not just to retreat, but to run.”

The officer was referring to a hugely successful counter-offensive where Ukrainian troops recaptured large parts of illegally-occupied territory across Kharkiv and the Donbas.

The commander added: “I want to say thank you to all officers, sergeants and instructors who took part in our training because it was so powerful.

“They gave us a lot… Thanks to the training, only three days after returning from England we were already carrying out missions.”

Ukrainian troops had been trained on how to use the launchers in the UK so that they can maximise the effectiveness of the systems when they use them. 

The officer’s military unit, which consists of artillery men and engineers, has reportedly kept the weapon operational and on the go 24/7 for the last month and a half. As of September 29, the team had already carried out six operations over the past 24 hours, launching around 50 rockets, Sky News reports. 

The unit operates the six British multiple-launch rocket systems (Britain has donated six in total) and three German MARS II launchers, meaning they aim for high-value targets. 

When announcing that Britain was gifting Ukraine with these highly capable weapons in back in June, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The UK stands with Ukraine in this fight and is taking a leading role in supplying its heroic troops with the vital weapons they need to defend their country from unprovoked invasion.

“If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win.

“As Russia’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine. These highly capable multiple-launch rocket systems will enable our Ukrainian friends to better protect themselves against the brutal use of long-range artillery, which Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to flatten cities.”

Unlike the highly precise M270, a lot of Russian artillery systems use Soviet-era launchers, which Ukraine forces previously used to operate, which need to rain down a frenzy of rockets on a target in order to destroy it. This requires far more ammunition and results in much more collateral damage. 

Dr Bury, a senior lecturer in security at the University of Bath, has previously told that the UK’s military aid has helped Ukraine “massively, in numerous ways.”

He said: “If you remember, at the start it was, first of all, get them javelins and stingers and other anti-tank weapons and that stopped the advance.

“It allowed the Ukrainians to adopt a mobile defence against Russian armoured columns which were lacking infantry and therefore easier to pick off so that made a big difference.”

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But the assistance may not stop there, as Prime Minister Liz Truss has pledged to spend at least £2.3billion on military aid in 2023 to strengthen Britain’s position as an ally of Ukraine.

Britain’s precise-long range launchers also use the same rockets as the US’ HIMARS systems, which have also been donated to Ukraine. The US recently decided to send four more of the high-precision HIMARS multiple rocket systems as part of its latest hardware package send to the nation to help fend off the Russians. 

But Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has called Washington’s decision to ship more weapons over as an “immediate threat” to Moscow, claiming that the US is “a participant of the conflict”. 

He said: “To continue pumping the Kiev regime with heavy weapons only secures Washington’s status as a participant of the conflict”. He added: “We call on Washington to stop its provocative actions that could lead to the most serious consequences.” 

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