Britain gives long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine


Britain has supplied Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine, becoming the first western country to provide the long-range munitions desperately sought by Kyiv to boost its chances in a much anticipated counter-offensive.

Hours after Ukraine’s president warned he needed more western weapons to be confident of a victory this summer, Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, told MPs that the missiles – which cost more than £2m each – were “now going in, or are in the country itself.”
The gift of the missiles was supported by the US, Wallace added, although previously Washington had declined to give Ukraine long-range missiles of its own, fearing that the outcome could escalate hostilities in the 15 month war.

Reflecting concerns like these, the minister said the decision was “a calibrated and proportionate response” to the Russian invasion, and in particular Moscow’s repeated targeting of Ukrainian civilians.
At least 23,000 civilians had been killed or injured, Wallace said. Russia had made “788 attacks on healthcare facilities, hospitals, clinics, medical centres”, and on many occasions killed civilians in missile strikes, he added.

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“The use of Storm Shadow will allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces based within Ukrainian sovereign territory,” Wallace told MPs, adding: “Russia must recognise that their actions alone have led to such systems being provided.”