The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it will send Ukraine a small number of high-tech, medium-range rocket systems, a critical weapon that Ukrainian leaders have been begging for as they struggle to stall Russian progress in the Donbas region.
Ukraine has started receiving Harpoon anti-ship missiles from Denmark and self-propelled howitzers from the United States, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on May 28.
“The coastal defense of our country will not only be strengthened by Harpoon missiles — they will be used by trained Ukrainian teams,” Reznikov wrote on his Facebook page.
He said Harpoon shore-to-ship missiles would be operated alongside Ukrainian Neptune missiles to defend Ukraine’s Black Sea, including the southern port of Odesa.
The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile that uses active radar homing and flies just above the water to evade defenses. It can be launched from ships, submarines, aircraft, or coastal batteries.
Russia has blockaded Ukrainian ports, hampering vital grain exports, and used its Black Sea fleet to launch missile attacks against Ukrainian cities.
Reznikov said Ukraine had also received a range of heavy artillery pieces, including modified U.S.-made M109 self-propelled howitzers that will allow the Ukrainian military to strike targets from longer distances.
Ukraine has said it wants to secure deliveries of U.S.-made long-range M270 multiple-rocket launchers (MLRS) to beef up its defense in the east, where Russia has been mounting an increasingly aggressive offensive backed by indiscriminate artillery fire that has provoked huge damage and killed hundreds of civilians.