Russian soldiers ‘shaking with fear’ at UK decision to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow


Russian soldiers will be ‘shaking with fear’ at the UK’s decision to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles amid Kyiv‘s upcoming counteroffensive, a retired US Army Colonel said today. 

Gian Gentile, who served two tours in Iraq, said the deadly missiles may be catastrophic for Russia‘s war efforts as they will allow Ukrainian troops to hit Russian soldiers and command centres deep into Moscow-held territory in eastern Ukraine.

Gentile, the associate director of think tank RAND’s Arroyo Centre in the US, said the delivery of Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine will have a huge psychological impact on Russian soldiers, whose levels of morale are already at ‘rock bottom’ amid heavy losses on the battlefield.

In the face of the Storm Shadow missiles, US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems and armoured fighting vehicles that can destroy tanks, Russian troops will be ‘shaking in their boots’ with fear ahead of Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive, Gentile said.

‘Discounting all of the bluff and bravado of Russian political leadership and senior generals who are far, far away from the front line, the Russian troops fighting there will be shaking in their boots about the prospect of this likely upcoming counteroffensive,’ Gentile told MailOnline.

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

Russian soldiers will be 'shaking with fear' at the UK's decision to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles (file image) amid Kyiv's upcoming counteroffensive, retired US Army Colonel Gian Gentile said today

Russian soldiers will be ‘shaking with fear’ at the UK’s decision to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles (file image) amid Kyiv’s upcoming counteroffensive, retired US Army Colonel Gian Gentile said today 

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 (pictured on Friday in Moscow, Russia)

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 (pictured on Friday in Moscow, Russia)

Since Russia invaded Ukraine more than a year ago, 197,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, according to Kyiv’s estimates. And Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive could prove deadly for thousands more – especially with the weapons supplied by Western allies including the UK and US.

Pictured: Retired US Colonel Gian Gentile

Pictured: Retired US Colonel Gian Gentile

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

‘We see this decision as an extremely hostile step from London, aimed at further pumping weapons into Ukraine and leading to a serious escalation of the situation,’ Russia’s foreign ministry said on Friday. 

Gentile, also a senior historian at RAND, said the move to provide the weapons is significant for Ukraine’s counteroffensive. 

The Storm Shadow missiles, which have a firing range of more than 155 miles, will give the Ukrainian troops the ability to strike ‘high-end targets like command and control nodes, logistic supply points, and potentially troop concentration areas deep in Russian held territory in Ukraine,’ Gentile said.

The retired colonel said this is ‘significant’ as it extends the striking range of US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems currently in use and frees up the HIMARs for other missions.

He pointed to how, in the past, if Ukrainian troops had wanted to strike a Russian logistics base in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, they would have to move the HIMARS very close to the embattled city. 

‘But now, with the Storm Shadow cruise missiles, they have the capability to strike this kind of target but from a distance,’ Gentile said.

‘This is a big deal. It will help Ukraine and it will further complicate Russian defensive measures as they will now have two longer range strike missiles to worry about and defend against.’

Gentile added: ‘And let’s not forget the psychological effect the introduction of the Storm Shadow cruise missile can have on the Russian military in Ukraine whose levels of morale are at rock bottom.’

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 retired colonel said this is 'significant' as it extends the striking range of US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems (pictured in Kherson, Ukraine, in November) currently in use and frees up the HIMARs for other missions

The retired colonel said this is ‘significant’ as it extends the striking range of US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems (pictured in Kherson, Ukraine, in November) currently in use and frees up the HIMARs for other missions

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 missile, 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.

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 

Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the think tank Henry Jackson Society, told MailOnline: ‘Providing Ukraine with Storm Shadow Missiles gives Kyiv the long-range striking capabilities it needs in advance of a highly anticipated rise in the Russian offensive.

‘The precision-guided weapons would allow Ukraine to strike targets anywhere in the country. 

‘This is a critical kit and an essential boost in our support allowing Ukrainian forces to reach behind enemy lines and giving them the best chance of defending themselves against Putin’s aggression.’

Announcing the decision to supply Ukraine with the Storm Shadow missiles, Wallace told the Houses of Parliament yesterday: ‘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. 

‘Ukraine has a right to be able to defend itself.’

Britain has 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. 

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’. 

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. 

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

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

A Ukrainian soldier in a trench close to the Russian positions near Kremenna in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Tuesday

A Ukrainian soldier in a trench close to the Russian positions near Kremenna in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Tuesday

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

The war in Ukraine is at a turning point. Kyiv is 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.

Moscow’s main target for months has been 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.

Today, the chief of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin admitted that Ukrainian forces have counter-attacked Russian positions around Bakhmut – as the warlord mocked Kremlin defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

‘The situation on the flanks is shaping up according to the worst predicted scenario,’ Prigozhin said, signalling fresh misery for Putin‘s troops.  

‘Those territories, which were taken with the blood and lives of our comrades-in-arms for many months, every day, by tens or hundreds of metres are now being thrown almost without a fight by those [Russian army soldiers] who are supposed to hold our flanks.’

Prigozhin then directly addressed the long-suffering Shoigu.

‘Given your super long experience, please can you come to Bakhmut?’ he asked sarcastically, poking fun at the defence minister’s civilian background in engineering.

President Volodymyr Zelensky sought to manage expectations around the pushback in Bakhmut, telling reporters the long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive was yet to begin in earnest and declaring: ‘We still need a bit more time.’

Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Hanna Maylar added later Friday: ‘The enemy has suffered great losses of manpower. Our defence forces advanced two kilometres (around one mile) near Bakhmut. We did not lose a single position in Bakhmut this week.’ 

Moscow has since denied the reports of Ukrainian counter-offensives in Bakhmut and said the frontline is under control.

‘Statements circulated by individual Telegram channels about ”defence breakthroughs” that took place in different areas along the line of military contact do not correspond to reality,’ the Russian defence ministry said in a Telegram post.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov meanwhile told Russian news service TASS that the military operation in the east of Ukraine was ‘very difficult’ but ‘certain goals have been achieved’. 

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.



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