UK announces first-ever long-range missiles for Ukraine

UK announces first-ever long-range missiles for Ukraine  at george magazine

U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace confirmed the transfer of the long-range cruise missile in an address to the House of Commons.

“Ukraine has a right to be able to defend itself,” Wallace said. “The use of Storm Shadow will allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces based within Ukrainian sovereign territory.”

The Storm Shadow is a conventionally armed cruise missile that can reach up to 150 miles away.

It would give Ukraine the capability to attack inside Russian-occupied territory, including Crimea, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014.

The U.S. has so far resisted sending long-range missile systems to Ukraine over fears that Kyiv will strike into Russia’s sovereign territory.

Wallace did not say whether it had formally requested Ukraine to not strike into Russian territory, but he did say it had taken steps to minimize escalation and that Russian forces would be safer if they withdrew.

“We simply will not stand by while Russia kills civilians,” he said. “We’ve seen what Ukraine can do with the right capabilities.”

London remains the second-largest contributor of aid to Ukraine after Washington and paved the way for sending modern tanks to the nation earlier this year.

The news comes just ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive in the east.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces need a bit more time to prepare for the looming counteroffensive, which has been highly anticipated.

Zelensky said Ukraine could launch the counteroffensive now but doing so carried the risk of high casualties, which he called “unacceptable.”

“So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time,” Zelensky said. “In terms of equipment, not everything has arrived yet.” 

Ukrainian troops this week have made small but tactical advances around the embattled town of Bakhmut, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

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