Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis on Sunday compared the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) weapons Ukraine is using in the war against Russia to dragons from the Game of Thrones (GOT) television series.
His comments came during an interview on NBC‘s Meet the Press, after host Chuck Todd asked him what the Ukrainian military needs to accomplish in the coming months.
“Winter is coming, and I’m not just doing that to promote tonight’s next episode of House of the Dragon,” Todd said, referring to the GOT prequel series that premiered this month on HBO. “What does the Ukrainian military need to accomplish before winter sets in?”
“Well, if they could get a dragon and call Dracarys and flame throw the Russians, that would be a big help. I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Stavridis said, referring to a command that characters in GOT use when they want dragons to breathe fire.
“What they need to accomplish is exactly what is happening. Take these excellent weapons we are giving them, not quite dragons, but HIMARS, long-range cruise missiles that can reach out and touch the Black Sea fleet,” he continued. “The Ukrainian offensive, I think, is going to kick off in earnest after Labor Day, Chuck. They’re aware that the world wakes up after Labor Day, they want to show they’ve got the ability to go on the offense. Look for that next.”
Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.
Ukrainian officials have touted the effectiveness of HIMARS, which the United States has provided the country with in recent months.
Last month, Bohdan Dmytruk, a commander in Ukraine’s 93rd Mechanized Brigade, told The Washington Post that the use of the weapons system on a Russian ammunition depot decreased shelling by 10 times.
“We have about one guy suffer a concussion every week now. Before the HIMARS hit, it was about two to three a day because of the intensity of the shelling,” he said.
Also last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed an aid package from the U.S. that provided the nation’s military with four additional HIMARS to fight Moscow.
“Critically important, powerful arms will save our soldiers’ lives, speed up the liberation of our land from the Russian aggressor. I appreciate the strategic friendship between our nations. Together to victory!” Zelensky tweeted.
Meanwhile, a Russian military analyst said in July that HIMARS will pose a “big problem” for Russia’s army. Michael Kofman, who heads the Russia Studies Program at the Virginia-based think tank CNA, told Radio Free Europe that the weapons systems would “help Ukraine gain a degree of parity with Russian artillery.”