Ukraine receives long-range rocket system; Russian official threatens to hit US embassy in Kyiv

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Ukraine received the first tranche of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from the United States on Thursday, a long-awaited arrival that Ukrainian defense officials are requesting to deter Russian forces.

“The summer will be hot for the Russian occupiers. And the last for some of them,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted on Thursday.

HIMARS gives Ukrainian forces the ability to strike Russian artillery at a range of 45-50 miles and adds to the toolkit of weapons the West has provided the country’s military, which includes drones, Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, tactical vehicles and thousands of small arms.

After the United States announced the transfer of four HIMARS to Ukraine earlier this month, Putin warned the West that he would strike new targets in Ukraine.

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On Wednesday, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee, Yuri Shvytkin, went further, saying that the transfer of HIMARS to Ukraine “underlines the step-by-step movement towards a third world war of the from the United States”.

“You have to understand that we have to react harshly. In my opinion, today, the reaction should also take place in the countries that supply weapons. And not only to destroy infrastructure, etc., but I think the main center of decision is the US Embassy,” Shvytkin told Russian news outlet Lenta.ru. “I think sooner or later it will become a target for the Russian armed forces.”

Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and author of ‘Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America’, said the Russians would never deliberately target the US embassy in Kyiv, but she does not rule out the possibility of a “staged” error.

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“At the end of the line, [an] Russian “wandering” strike [the] The US Embassy is entirely plausible. ‘A shot through the arc’ is also possible, in which the Russians could target the part of the embassy that is not heavily populated,” Koffler told Fox News Digital on Thursday.

“It would be a message to the United States to stop supplying arms to Ukraine. But everything is risky and the threshold is very high for this decision.”

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Fighting has intensified in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks, with Russian forces hitting the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk as they attempt to take control of the Donbass region.

Ukraine received four HIMARS on Thursday after US forces trained their use. Four more HIMARS were also announced this week as part of the more than $6 billion in military assistance the United States has provided to the country over the past four months.

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