HIMARS Makes First Strike inside Russia: Over 40 Explosions Devastates Belgorod/Video

It Has Begun! Ukrainian troops used US-provided HIMARS missiles inside Russian territory

by Sededin Dedovic
HIMARS Makes First Strike inside Russia: Over 40 Explosions Devastates Belgorod/Video
© Ezra Acayan / Getty Images

The Ukrainian army, thanks to HIMARS, has destroyed an advanced air defense system on Russian territory. HIMARS is an artillery system of multiple rocket launchers manufactured by Lockheed Martin, and it arrived in Ukraine from the USA.

The Kremlin warned Washington that they could suffer "fatal consequences" due to the support America is providing to Ukraine in attacking Russian areas. "It burned beautifully. It's a Russian S-300, on Russian territory. And this happened within the first few days after we were allowed to use the weapons sent by the West on enemy territory," Ukrainian government minister Irina Vereshchuk posted on Facebook, along with an alleged picture of the attack.

The Institute for the Study of War announced that Ukrainian forces destroyed air defense within Russia, "likely" with the HIMARS missile system provided by America. Several missiles hit the S-300 rocket system in Belgorod, Russia.

The S-300 was used to launch missiles at Kharkiv and protect military garrisons near Belgorod. This attack cost Russia losses estimated at over a billion dollars, according to foreign media.

Russia warned of consequences

The attack occurred on Sunday.

After the attack, photos were taken showing fire on destroyed vehicles while thick columns of smoke rose into the air. Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned the USA that it would face "fatal consequences" if they allow Ukraine to use American weapons for attacks on Russian territory, according to The Telegraph.

The USA gave Kyiv permission to strike targets within Russia only if they pose an immediate threat to Ukraine.

The country's President Volodymyr Zelensky subsequently requested permission to use American weapons for long-range attacks.

Change of plan?

"The United States (USA) does not support the use of long-range weapons against Russia," said Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh on Monday, reported by Anadolu.

"We do not support capabilities for long-range attacks in Russia, but yes, like, ammunition, HIMARS, those kinds of things. When it comes to that cross-border region, that is part of the focus of policy change," Singh told reporters.

This statement followed after US President Joe Biden last week gave Ukraine secret approval to use weapons supplied by the USA for attacks within Russia, but only near the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, where Russian forces entered in early May and have since advanced.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Indian Treaty Room o© Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Singh said that Russian forces continue to maneuver around Kharkiv, adding: "So, those are the kinds of capabilities that would be useful there.

But still, we do not support a policy of long-range attacks within Russia." When asked if the American HIMARS missile system could be used, Singh said: "I will not go into more details, but we simply do not support long-range capabilities to be used in Russia."

Can "Western weapons" bring change on the battlefield?

Until now, Western countries have restricted Ukraine from using their weapons on military targets within Russia, including Crimea and occupied territories.

They were concerned that attacks on targets beyond the internationally recognized border with weapons provided by NATO countries would escalate the conflict. However, the latest Russian breakthrough in northeastern Kharkiv convinced Kyiv's allies that if Ukraine wants to defend itself successfully, it must be able to destroy military targets on the other side of the border.

Last month, Russia launched a massive ground offensive in this area, opening a new front and capturing several villages. The Russian breakthrough poses a serious threat to Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, just 30 kilometers from the border.

The border in this area is practically the frontline, so the ban on using Western-supplied weapons to target beyond Ukraine allowed Russian units to prepare for the operation in a safe environment. After increasing pressure from Ukraine and other European countries, the USA agreed to change its policy and allow Kyiv to attack Russia with Western-supplied weapons.

"Our main feature of engagement is to adapt as needed, to meet what is actually happening on the battlefield, to ensure that Ukraine has everything it needs when it needs it," said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague on Friday.

While America and Germany have said that Ukraine can use their weapons for attacks on Russian territory, some other NATO members, such as Italy, Hungary, and Turkey, are strongly opposed. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the use of Western weapons for attacks on Russian territory is "a matter of time." Moscow quickly responded.

Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev warned that Ukraine and its allies would face a "devastating response," reported BBC.

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