Russia threatens Britain with ‘an adequate response from our military’ over supply of


Russia today threatened Britain with ‘an adequate response from our military’ after the UK agreed to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range missiles.

The missiles, which cost about £2.2million, will allow Ukraine to hit Russian troops and logistics hubs deep behind the front line in a major blow to Vladimir Putin

Britain had received assurances from the Ukrainian government that these missiles would be used only within Ukrainian sovereign territory and not inside Russia, multiple senior Western officials said.

Ukraine has been asking for months for long-range missiles, but support provided by Britain and other allies such as the United States has previously been limited to shorter range weapons.

But UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today confirmed that Britain is sending the Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, a decision that prompted a furious response from the Kremlin.

A graphic showing how the Storm Shadow Missiles would work on the battlefield

A graphic showing how the Storm Shadow Missiles would work on the battlefield

Russia today threatened Britain with 'an adequate response from our military' after the UK agreed to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range missiles (file image)

Russia today threatened Britain with ‘an adequate response from our military’ after the UK agreed to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range missiles (file image)

The missiles, which cost about £2.2million, will allow Ukraine to hit Russian troops and logistics hubs deep behind the front line in a major blow to Vladimir Putin

The missiles, which cost about £2.2million, will allow Ukraine to hit Russian troops and logistics hubs deep behind the front line in a major blow to Vladimir Putin 

‘The donation of these weapons systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend themselves against Russia’s continued brutality especially with the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, which is against international law,’ Wallace told the House of Commons. ‘Ukraine has a right to be able to defend itself.’

Storm Shadow

The Storm Shadow, also known as SCALP, is an air-to-ground missile that can hit fixed or stationary targets.

Length: 16ft 9in 

Range: 350 miles 

Speed:  600mph 

Wallace said the missiles would be used to push back Russian forces in ‘Ukrainian sovereign territory’, while adding that the UK’s support for Ukraine is ‘responsible, calibrated, coordinated and agile’.

‘We simply will not stand back while Russia kills civilians,’ Wallace said.

Wallace did not say how many cruise missiles were being sent to Ukraine, but said they are ‘now going into or are in the country itself’.  

Earlier, a Western official had told CNN about the decision to supply Ukraine with the missiles, saying: ‘The UK has previously said that it will supply Ukraine with long-range weapons, this will now include a number of Storm Shadow missiles.

‘The British government has been clear that this is only in response to Russia’s deliberate targeting of civilian national infrastructure and is a proportionate response.’ 

The Kremlin said the reports would require ‘an adequate response from our military’.

The Storm Shadow is an air-launched long-range missile, designed for attacks against high value targets such as hardened bunkers and key infrastructure.

The missiles, jointly developed by the UK and France, has a firing range of more than 155 miles (250km) which means Kyiv would be able to strike deep into Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine where the fiercest battles are ongoing.

The missile is ‘a real game changer from a range perspective,’ a senior US military official said. At the moment, Ukraine’s current maximum range on US-provided weapons is around 49 miles.

The UK’s decision to supply the missiles comes as Wallace and the foreign minister James Cleverly have been in the United States for talks on supporting Ukraine in recent weeks.

Britain and other Western countries have scaled up their military aid for Ukraine this year, with Britain saying in January it would send 14 of its main Challenger 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, a pledge that was followed by other nations including the United States and Germany.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the Munich Security Conference in February that Britain would be the first country to provide Ukraine with longer range weapons.

The United States said in February it would provide the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), which has a range of about 151 km.

Asked on Tuesday about supplying long range missiles, Cleverly declined to detail specific plans but he said it was important to keep looking at ways to ‘enhance and speed up the support we give to Ukraine’.

The war in Ukraine is at a turning point, with Kyiv expected to unleash its new counteroffensive after six months of keeping its forces on the defensive, while Russia mounted a huge winter offensive that failed to capture significant territory.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today confirmed that Britain is sending the Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, a decision that prompted a furious response from the Kremlin

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today confirmed that Britain is sending the Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, a decision that prompted a furious response from the Kremlin

The Storm Shadow (pictured, centre) is an air-launched long-range missile, designed for attacks against high value targets such as hardened bunkers and key infrastructure

The Storm Shadow (pictured, centre) is an air-launched long-range missile, designed for attacks against high value targets such as hardened bunkers and key infrastructure

The UK's decision to supply the missiles comes as Britain's defence minister Ben Wallace and the foreign minister James Cleverly have been in the United States for talks on supporting Ukraine in recent weeks. Pictured: Cleverly with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC, US, on Tuesday

The UK’s decision to supply the missiles comes as Britain’s defence minister Ben Wallace and the foreign minister James Cleverly have been in the United States for talks on supporting Ukraine in recent weeks. Pictured: Cleverly with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC, US, on Tuesday

Artillery rocket units of the mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Army conduct operation to target trenches of Russian forces through the Donetsk region in Ukraine on Tuesday

Artillery rocket units of the mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Army conduct operation to target trenches of Russian forces through the Donetsk region in Ukraine on Tuesday

A Ukrainian soldier fires an RPG toward Russian positions at the frontline near Kremenna in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Tuesday

A Ukrainian soldier fires an RPG toward Russian positions at the frontline near Kremenna in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Tuesday

Moscow’s main target for months has been the small eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which it has come close to capturing but not quite taken in what would be its sole prize after months of the bloodiest ground combat in Europe since World War Two.

Kyiv says it has pushed Russian forces back over the past two days near Bakhmut in small-scale local assaults, but a counteroffensive involving tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of new Western tanks has yet to begin.  

‘We still need a bit more time,’ President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday.

Ukrainian forces had already received enough equipment from Western allies for their campaign, but were waiting for the full complement to arrive to reduce casualties, Zelensky said.

‘With [what we have] we can go forward and be successful,’ he said. ‘But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time.’

Ukrainian forces have been training a new contingent of forces and stockpiling Western-supplied munitions and hardware that analysts say will be key to reclaiming territory captured by Russia.

The timing of Kyiv’s effort to claw back ground in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as well as the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, remains a question.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said late last month that Kyiv’s preparations were ‘coming to an end’ and his forces were ready ‘in a global sense’.

But he also said that Abrams tanks promised by the US would not be able to take part in the offensive because they would not arrive in Ukraine until the end of this year.

The head of Russia’s Wagner private military company Yevgeny Prigozhin meanwhile accused Zelensky of being ‘dishonest’ in his BBC interview saying that Ukraine’s counter-offensive ‘is in full swing’. 

A senior Ukrainian military official said earlier this week that Russian forces had dropped back from some areas near Bakhmut after limited counter-attacks by Kyiv’s forces around the eastern city. 

Prigozhin, whose forces are on the front line of the battle for Bakhmut, admitted that some Ukrainian units were successfully breaking through in some areas.

‘The Ukrainian army’s plan is in action… All the units which have been trained, which have received weapons, tanks and everything they need are already fully engaged,’ he said.

Prigozhin is involved in a long-running dispute with Russian military chiefs over ammunition supplies for his fighters and he has threatened to pull them out of Bakhmut.

The mercenary force chief appeared to brand Putin a ‘complete a**hole’ and mock him as a ‘happy grandfather’ in a scathing video yesterday. 

Prigozhin trashed his troops’ lack of ammunition and threatened to strangle those who are preventing shells from reaching the frontline.

Ukrainian soldiers walk through the forest close to the Russian positions near Kremenna in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Tuesday

Ukrainian soldiers walk through the forest close to the Russian positions near Kremenna in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Tuesday

‘They’re collecting [artillery shells] in warehouses – why, no one knows.

‘Instead of spending a shell to kill the enemy and save the lives of our soldiers, they let our soldiers die – and the ‘happy grandfather’ thinks this is good for him.

‘If he turns out to be right, then God bless everybody… but how will we win the war, if, by chance – and I’m just speculating – it turns out that this grandfather is a complete a**hole?

Prigozhin concluded: ‘The shells give freedom. And if they don’t give freedom with the shells… if they keep holding onto them then first we need to shove it up their a*** and then throw them in jail.’

Though the Wagner chief did not refer to Putin by name, he has never shied away from criticising other senior Russian defence figures – and Putin is often referred to as ‘grandfather’ or even ‘the bunker grandfather’ in opposition circles, suggesting his rant was almost certainly aimed at the President.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russia has resumed air strikes on Ukraine over the past two weeks after a lull of nearly two months. Moscow says Ukraine has used drones to strike occupied areas and Russian territory near the border. 

Russian politicians and commentators in turn warned the Storm Shadow missiles could be used to launch attacks on targets in Russia, and lead to an escalation of the war in Ukraine. 

Colonel Igor Korotchenko (pictured) said Kiev will use the missiles to strike Russian cities

Colonel Igor Korotchenko (pictured) said Kiev will use the missiles to strike Russian cities

Dr Konstantin Sivkov warned the Storm Shadow missiles pose a serious threat in their ability to circumvent Russian air defences

Dr Konstantin Sivkov warned the Storm Shadow missiles pose a serious threat in their ability to circumvent Russian air defences

War hawk Colonel Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Russia’s National Defence magazine and a leading military TV propagandist, suggested the Ukrainian government would break his promises to Britain by targeting Russian cities. 

‘Do not have any illusions – the West is ready to supply Ukraine with everything except nuclear weapons, and Kiev will not keep its promises and will use these missiles to strike Russian cities,’ Mr Korotchenko said. 

Vadim Kozyulin, of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, said Britain’s decision to supply Ukraine with the weaponry marked a ‘new round of escalation on the part of the Western countries.’

He said it is no surprise that the UK had led the supply of the Storm Shadow missiles, as he claimed Britain has ‘historically’ been ‘one of the most Russophobic countries, which always tries to be one step ahead of other ‘partners’ in activities against Moscow.’

Mr Kozyulin argued that while Kiev has vowed not to attack targets outside Ukraine’s territorial borders, the missiles may be used to hit Crimea, which was annexed by the Russian Federation in March 2014. 

‘Crimea and the new regions of the Russian Federation are recognised by Western countries as lands of Ukraine,’ he said. ‘Therefore, I think the [Ukrainian army] will attack these very regions.’ 

‘Ukraine is indeed being prepared for a counter-attack and strikes on Crimea, and we need to take this seriously,’ Mr Kozyulin added. 

Commentators in Russia were split as the extent the missiles pose a threat, as they noted Russia’s air defences had previously successfully intercepted Storm Shadow missiles in Syria. 

Dr Konstantin Sivkov, deputy president of Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences, said: ‘Storm Shadow poses a serious threat to our army and the country, as this missile can go around the air defence zone and the actions of long-range radar aircraft.’

Diplomacy expert Mr Kozyulin said it ‘is not very clear yet’ the extent to which Ukraine will be able to ‘successfully’ use the Storm Shadow missiles. 

Military expert Yury Knutov said Russia’s will ‘adapt’ to ‘neutralise completely the actions of these strike weapons.’ He also claimed the Storm Shadow missiles are ‘nothing new’ as he described them as ‘an analogue of the Tomahawk cruise missiles, but with a much shorter range’ 

Dmitry Belik, an MP for occupied Sevastopol, said Storm Shadow would not be a ‘miracle weapon’ for Ukraine, as he claimed Russia is ‘strengthening its shield and, of course, is preparing a longer-range response capability.’



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