The UK is sending long-range missiles to Ukraine, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed.
The Minister said that Storm Shadows missiles will be supplied to Ukraineis military.
Sky News understands some of the missiles are already in Ukraine – Mr Wallace said the projectiles “now go or are in the country itself”.
Ukraine has long demanded such weapons, but the United States and other countries have refused to provide them in case strikes inside Russia lead to escalation.
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Storm Shadow is a long-range air-launched cruise missile developed by British Aerospace and a French company, which carries a 450 kg conventional warhead over a range of up to 200 miles (300 km).
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Wallace said: ‘The donation of these weapons systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend itself against Russia’s continued brutality, especially the deliberate targeting of infrastructure Ukrainian civilians, which is contrary to international law.
“Ukraine has the right to be able to defend itself against this.”
He added that the missiles would be intended for use “on Ukrainian sovereign territory”.
Missiles launched in Russia would increase the likelihood of a greater Russian response.
Responding to reports that the deal had been reached, Moscow said the move would require an “adequate response from our military.”
Mr Wallace said he would not give detailed details of Storm Shadow’s capabilities – but said: ‘These weapons will give Ukraine new capabilities, members should recognize that these systems are not even in the same league as the Russian killjoy AS-24 hypersonic missile”, or even “the Kalibr cruise missile with a range of more than 2,000 kilometers, or about seven times that of a Storm Shadow missile”.
What is a Storm Shadow cruise missile?
The deployment of the Storm Shadow cruise missiles marks a significant increase in the capabilities of the weapons the UK has sent to Ukraine.
The missile has a strike capability of nearly 200 miles (300 km), meaning it would potentially allow Ukraine to strike further into Russian territory.
The missile weighs 1.3 tonnes and is just over 5m long.
It is launched from the air and can in theory be used from Soviet-made Ukrainian aircraft.
British Storm Shadow missiles are manufactured in Stevenage by MBDA. Each cruise missile costs around £2 million.
The Storm Shadow was originally developed as a project between the UK and France in the early 1990s.
It was used in Iraq in 2003, while France, Italy and the UK used it in Libya in 2011.
The missiles have also been used to bomb Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pleaded with Western nations for these types of missiles for months – but the requests have been rejected, particularly by the United States.
In his speech, the Defense Secretary laid out some of the ways Russia had attacked Ukraine – including allegations that it used white phosphorus.
He said the use of such weapons – “which burn at 800°C” – is contrary to “Protocol 3 of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons”.