Russia says it destroyed two US HIMARS in east Ukraine, Kyiv rejects claim

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Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday its armed forces had destroyed two advanced US-made HIMARS rocket systems and their ammunition depots in eastern Ukraine, an assertion later rejected by Kyiv.

Moscow said it had destroyed two launchers for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that the United States and its allies have been supplying to Kyiv.

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It also said Russian forces destroyed two ammunition depots storing rockets for the HIMARS near the frontline in a village south of Kramatorsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region - the main focus for Russian troops after the capture of Luhansk on Sunday.

The ministry released video footage which it said showed the strike. Reuters could not independently verify the strike.

Ukraine’s general staff rejected Russia’s account later on Wednesday. In a post on Twitter, it said the claims were “fake” and that it was using the US-supplied HIMARS to inflict “devastating blows” on Russian forces.

Ukraine had received only four HIMARS systems as of early July, the European Council on Foreign Relations said in a report. The United States has pledged to deliver eight by mid-July.

Western weapon supplies have been crucial to Ukraine’s efforts to push back the tens of thousands of Russian troops that Moscow sent into its pro-Western neighbor on Feb. 24 in what it calls a “special military operation.”

Read more: US finalizing medium- and long-range air-defense systems for Ukraine: White House

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