Main / Military aid / Britain has supplied Ukraine with long-range "Storm Shadow" missiles

Britain has supplied Ukraine with long-range "Storm Shadow" missiles

Britain has supplied Ukraine with long-range "Storm Shadow" missiles

The United Kingdom has provided Ukraine with several Storm Shadow cruise missiles, giving the Ukrainian military a new long-range strike capability ahead of an expected control offensive against Russian forces, several senior Western officials told CNN.

"The Storm Shadow is a long-range cruise missile with stealth capabilities, jointly developed by the United Kingdom and France, which is usually launched from the air. With a range of more than 250 kilometers, it falls just short of the 185-mile range of the U.S. Army's Tactical Air-to-Air Missile System, or ATACMS, which Ukraine has long requested.

Importantly, Storm Shadow has a range long enough to strike deep into Russian-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. A Western official told CNN that the UK has received assurances from the Ukrainian government that these missiles will only be used within Ukraine's sovereign territory and not in Russia. British officials often publicly recognize Crimea as Ukrainian sovereign territory, describing it as "illegally annexed."

The missile is a "real game changer in terms of range," a senior U.S. military official told CNN, and gives Kyiv the capability it has been demanding since the war began. As CNN reported, the maximum range of the Ukrainian armed forces with American weapons is about 49 miles.

The deployment of the missiles comes as Ukrainian forces prepare for a counteroffensive aimed at regaining control of territories in the east and south of the country currently held by the Kremlin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country still needs "a little more time" before launching a counteroffensive to allow more promised Western military aid to reach the country.

"With [what we have], we can go forward and succeed," Zelenskiy told European public service broadcasters in an interview published Thursday. "But we will lose a lot of people. I think that's unacceptable."

"So, we need to wait. We still need some more time," he added. Among the deliveries Ukraine is still waiting for are armored vehicles, including tanks, which Zelenskiy said are "arriving in batches."

This is not the first time that Britain has gone further than the US in terms of the weapons it is willing to send to Ukraine. It was the first ally to announce that it was sending modern Western tanks to Ukraine, pledging 14 Challenge 2 tanks in January before the US announced it would contribute its M-1 Abrams tanks.

Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hinted that Britain was considering sending long-range weapons.

"We must help Ukraine defend its cities against Russian bombs and Iranian drones," Sunak said at the Munich Security Conference on February 18. "And that's why the UK will be the first country to supply Ukraine with longer-range weapons."  - British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

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