Send Ukraine the Rockets It Needs—and Quickly

The Biden administration is acting too slowly to support democracy’s frontline against Russia
By Anders Corr
Anders Corr
Anders Corr
Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea" (2018).
June 13, 2022Updated: June 13, 2022


Ukraine’s cities are under increasing pressure from Russia’s more powerful and better-supplied artillery forces, according to the latest reports.

Kyiv is rightly calling for more and better military materiel, including longer-range rockets and plenty of ammunition, required to drive back Vladimir Putin’s invaders.

Ukrainian artillery forces are so scanty at present that they can only fire back 1 round for every 10 fired by the Russians, according to a Ukrainian government adviser. Russian forces daily fire as many as 50,000 rounds into Ukraine’s positions.

The most recent American commitment of 220,000 rounds is too late and will only last about four days if used to match Russian firing rates.

Longer-range HIMARS multiple-rocket launcher systems were long requested by the Ukrainians but have still not arrived. The United States is so far only sending four HIMARS systems, with Britain sending three more.

We should have sent these rockets long ago, along with trainers, to ensure that they were used correctly at the front so that more could have already rapidly followed and in force. This is our own tactical and logistics failure that daily costs the lives of Ukraine’s heroes on the battlefield.

The Biden administration has called for stronger alliances, but we have not delivered in Ukraine’s hour of need.

Russian forces have already deployed hundreds of rocket launcher systems to Ukraine. They started with 900 in their arsenal.

Recent fighting has centered on Severodonetsk, a city in the country’s eastern Luhansk province, surrounded on three sides by Russian forces. Vicious street fighting is ongoing there, but Ukrainian forces are being pushed back by new Russian momentum. The Russians control most of the city now.

If the Russians take it, Lysychansk across the Donetsk river will be under threat, and within weeks, all of Luhansk province could fall, according to a U.S. official.

Russians are already advancing on Slovyansk, further west, where they made gains to the city’s north. This puts more Ukrainian families at risk, which could cause them to flee west.

Russia’s indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas, and the disease which follows the destruction of infrastructure, have killed 287 children since the start of the war.

School building hit
A partially collapsed building after a school building was hit as a result of shelling, in the village of Bilohorivka, Luhansk, Ukraine, on May 8, 2022. (Regional Military-Civil Administration/Handout via Reuters)

Elsewhere in Ukraine’s east, including Kramatorsk, Kostiantynivka, Slovyansk, Bakhmut, and Druzhkivka in northern Donetsk, Ukrainians are without electricity as Russian artillery damages power lines. Lack of electricity will mean more civilian deaths due to inoperable medical and infrastructure systems, including a lack of running water.

As a result, cholera, dysentery, and other disease is spreading in Mariupol, the ancient city that Russian artillery destroyed in the process of its taking.

Disease could kill thousands more Mariupolites in a city that had already lost 20,000. Corpses there lie uncollected or thrown in wells, contaminating them. Mariupol is now under quarantine.

So far, approximately 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died fighting for freedom against the invasion. About 200 Ukrainian soldiers are killed daily. Adding injuries to this means that as many as 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are daily lost from the battle.

This is unacceptable when the West has the weapons systems necessary to stop Russia’s advance.

The Washington Post recently interviewed Ukrainian soldiers forced into retreat from Dovhenke near Slovyansk. Russian artillery killed 35 of the unit’s 100 men.

“They destroy everything and walk in,” one soldier said.

“As troop fatalities mounted, the surviving soldiers felt ‘more motivated to hold our position,’” another said. “To retreat after their comrades were killed defending the town, he said, would have felt like treating their deaths as insignificant,” according to the Post.

But the Ukrainians are outgunned because we further West have been too slow to supply them with the weapons they need.

“The Russians are using long-range artillery against us, often without any response, because we don’t have the means,” a government adviser told the Post. “They can attack from dozens of kilometers away, and we can’t fire back. We know all the coordinates for all their important targets, but we don’t have the means to attack.”

Ukraine has 6 million men ready to fight the Russians. But it doesn’t have the protective gear, guns, and artillery systems to put them in the field.

The memory of Ukraine’s war dead, and the prospects for our own future, which could look similar to Ukraine’s current chaos, violence, and disorder if we don’t defeat Russia, require stronger Western military support for the heroes.

That support should include more and better artillery, long-range and highly mobile rocket launchers, and plenty of rockets and artillery rounds.

Ukraine is on the frontline of the defense of democracy, including our own. Kyiv has asked politely, and the world should deliver.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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