The United States altered the software within the HIMARS rocket launchers it sent to Ukraine to ensure they were incapable of firing long-range missiles into Russian territory, U.S. officials reportedly told the Wall Street Journal.
According to the U.S. publication citing Washington sources, the United States has supplied 20 HIMARS rocket launchers to the Ukrainian army since June, which included an arms supply of satellite-guided rockets with a 80-kilometer range giving Ukraine ample ammunition to defend its borders and keep Russian forces present in the east of the country from encroaching further into Ukraine’s sovereign territory.
However, the Pentagon modified the launchers, activating a feature that prevents their use with longer-range missiles, limiting the ability of Ukrainian forces to fire directly into Russia.
It is understood the U.S. administration considered the action to be necessary to contain the scope of the Russo-Ukrainian war and to reduce the risk of a wider conflict between Washington and Moscow.
The U.S. reportedly received a pledge from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he would not use the missile systems to directly attack Russian territory and ensured they would only be used to defend Ukraine. However, the Pentagon decided not to take any chances and restricted their capability, perhaps showing some insight into the relationship between the administrations in Washington and Kyiv.
Pentagon spokesperson, Gen. Patrick Ryder, declined to comment on the modifications.
“Due to operational security considerations, we do not comment publicly on the configuration of systems provided to allies and partners.
“The United States remains committed to providing Ukraine the capabilities it needs to counter Russian aggression,” Ryder added.