Russian sources have been increasingly alarmed by the use of HIMARS, whose precision-guided munitions are reportedly ‘un-interceptable’ by Russia’s air defenses. This has reportedly had a deep psychological effect on Russian forces in Ukraine, with a possible attack falling at any time.
Ukraine currently has eight HIMARS in service and has been pledged more successively in tranches of four. So far, these batteries have proved extremely effective against Russian forces across all fronts. Though the United States warned against the consideration of one combat system as ‘crucial’ to winning the war, HIMARS has increasingly played a central role in allowing Ukraine to target deep into occupied territory and lay the groundwork for a push into Southern Ukraine.
Many Russian analysts have been calling for Russia to disperse its ammunition depots and command centers. Although Russia has managed to adapt to Ukraine’s early UAV supremacy and has proven capable of changing tactics to advance in the Donbas, dispersing its command would run directly against the core Russian doctrine of top-down leadership. Whereas NATO forces are trained for interoperability and individual decision-making, Russian forces tend to prioritize orders from the top, even to the point that Vladimir Putin himself was rumored to have taken day-to-day military command of the invasion.
Dispersing assets this late into the invasion is unlikely to be successful, barring an operational pause that would see both Russian and Ukrainian forces standing by. Zelenskyy has repeatedly claimed that Russia has not undertaken an operational pause; such a posture likely indicates that even if Russia were to halt its advance, Ukraine would continue fighting and attempting to advance until all of the occupied territories were limited.
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