Putin finds scapegoat in U.S. HIMARS, builds case for war with West

Russian President Vladimir Putin The US is fighting a “proxy war” in Ukraine, and now Moscow is saying that the US-made HIMARS rocket system has proved its point.

Long-range systems with better accuracy and faster fire rates than Ukraine’s dated artillery have boosted its efforts and limited Russia’s military advances. But since Ukraine claimed the weapon’s success, experts say it boosted Putin’s propaganda among Russians and scapegoated the leader for Russia’s failures on the battlefield.

Brian Taylor, professor of Russian politics at Syracuse University, said Newsweek Putin has used the success of HIMARS (an acronym for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) to accuse the United States of direct involvement in the Ukraine war. Taylor said it was part of his strategy to exploit a “deep-seated” domestic narrative that Russia is at war not just with Ukraine, but with the West.

Responding to comments by Ukrainian intelligence officials about information sharing between the U.S. and Ukraine, Russia’s Defense Ministry said last week, “All this proves beyond doubt that Washington, the White House and Pentagon claim, is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine.”

The ministry added, “The Biden administration is directly responsible for all rocket attacks authorized by Kiev on residential areas and civilian infrastructure in Donbass and other regions that have resulted in massive civilian casualties.”

Experts say the US-supplied HIMARS rocket system has fueled Russian President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda and scapegoated Russia for its failures on the battlefield in Ukraine. Above, Putin at a press conference on June 29 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
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The Pentagon has delivered a dozen rocket systems to the Ukrainian military, and four more are on the way. weapon is Widely praised by Ukrainian high officials. On Monday, the mayor of the southeastern city of Melitopol said Russia was “no longer capable of resisting HIMARS” in an announcement after the rocket system’s attack killed more than 100 Russian soldiers.

“Since Himars started operating in Ukraine, in Melitopol, we have destroyed several Russian positions,” He said Newsweek.

Michael Kimge, a former member of the US Secretary of State’s policy planning staff, said it was not “far from the truth” to say the US was directly involved in the war. Along with sophisticated US-supplied weaponry, which is credited with turning the conflict around, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinKimge said that US policy aims to weaken Russia by helping Ukraine, a comment that could easily be construed as “leaning forward” by Moscow. Newsweek.

He added that providing HIMARS to Ukraine not only sends a message of Russia versus the West; It also helps Putin that Russia was pushed into the conflict by Western powers. “Russia was left with no choice and the West uses Ukraine, as it has historically, according to Putin, to weaken Russia,” Kimge said.

Newsweek The US Department of Defense has been contacted for comment.

As Putin uses the effectiveness of American weapons to justify his aggression, he relies on it to explain the strength of the Ukrainian people’s resistance.

Kimge said the more Russia points the finger of blame at Washington, the easier it will be for Putin to excuse why his forces did not win the war as expected. Because he has said that Ukraine is not a real country, it is difficult for him to defend a poor performance in a war against such a supposedly weak nation. So positioning Russia “toe to toe with the world’s preeminent superpower” goes a way of explaining why the Russian leader has faced conflict with less embarrassment, Kimge said.

And as much as Putin wants to present a “Western boogeyman” narrative, the Russian public is willing to listen to it, said Yuri Zhukov, an associate political science professor at the University of Michigan.

“It’s very easy to believe that things aren’t going well because of US intervention rather than Ukrainian decision-making,” he said.

Lawrence Reardon, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said that despite Putin’s message, there is evidence of complaints like HIMARS. “Russian forces are suffering now.”

“The Ukrainian government and military have a highly sophisticated understanding of Russian military tactics and have demonstrated an exceptional ability to engage the aggressors,” Reardon said.

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