Defense Minister Reznikov announced that Ukraine has begun receiving US-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles and M109 self-propelled howitzers.
“The Harpoon missile will strengthen our coastal defense capabilities. Trained Ukrainian units will operate them,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on May 27.
Reznikov announced that the Harpoon complexes will be operated with Ukraine’s Neptune anti-ship missiles to “defend the southern coast of the country, including the port of Odessa”.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on May 23 announced that Denmark would deliver a Harpoon system to Ukraine, but did not specify the variant. Denmark has not commented on the delivery of Harpoon missiles to Ukraine.
Minister Reznikov also announced that Ukraine received a variety of heavy artillery, including the US M109 self-propelled howitzer modified to allow Ukrainian troops to attack targets from longer distances. Ukraine also wants to be supplied with US-made M270 long-range rocket launchers.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the country is working to increase the supply of weapons and is close to surpassing Russia in both technology and offensive capabilities.
“Of course, this depends a lot on our partners and their readiness to provide Ukraine with everything it needs,” Zelensky said in a video broadcast on May 28.
After Russia launched a special military operation to “unarmed and non-fascist Ukraine”, the West provided the Eastern European country with a variety of heavy weapons. Among these weapons is the M777, a 155 mm howitzer model that is expected to help Ukraine dominate firepower against Russian forces.
Harpoon is a cruise missile capable of flying close to the sea surface to attack ships operating far from the shore with a distance of up to 300 km depending on the variant. Harpoon is usually launched from ships or aircraft, but Denmark is operating a ground-based launch pad to protect its coastline.
The Danish Army is fielding the RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II variant, which is capable of striking ships at sea as well as targets in ports and on land. The country also operated the RGM-84A Block I variant with inferior performance and put it into storage in 2003.
The Harpoon complexes are assessed to add an extra layer of protection to the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odessa, which is believed to be vulnerable to Russian attack from the sea. In addition, Ukraine can use Harpoon missiles to attack the port of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula, where several warships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet are anchored.
Nguyen Tien (Theo Reuters)