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Howitzers, Harpoons to Help Ukraine

FILE: Undated photo of U.S. Army M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer. This has mobility and long range, enabling Ukrainian forces to hit hard targets well back behind front lines.

Ukraine has started receiving Harpoon anti-ship missiles from Denmark and self-propelled howitzers from the United States, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Saturday, saying the arms would bolster forces fighting Russia's invasion.

Punch hard, punch deep. That's the mission set for U.S. long-range howitzers in Ukrainian hands.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Saturday that Ukraine has received a number of heavy artillery pieces, including U.S. M109 self-propelled howitzers that will allow Ukrainians to strike targets from longer distances.

Last month, a senior U.S. defense official said the U.S. military had started training Ukrainian troops on using howitzer artillery at facilities outside of Ukraine.

Kyiv's defense minister also said Ukraine has started receiving Harpoon anti-ship missiles from Denmark.

"The coastal defense of our country will not only be strengthened by Harpoon missiles – they will be used by trained Ukrainian teams," Reznikov wrote on his Facebook page.

The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile that uses active radar homing and flies just above the water to evade defenses. It can be launched from ships, submarines, aircraft or coastal batteries.

The defense minister said the Harpoon shore-to-ship weapons would be operated alongside Ukrainian-built Neptune missiles in accessible parts of the country's coast including the southern port of Odesa.

Reznikov said the supplies of Harpoon missiles were the result of cooperation between several countries, saying the deliveries from Denmark took place "with the participation of our British friends".

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday that Denmark would provide a Harpoon launcher and missiles to Ukraine.

Russia has said its invasion of Ukraine is a special operation to demilitarize it and eliminate radical anti-Russian nationalists. Ukraine and its allies call that a false pretext, and have fought since February 24 to repel Moscow's forces.