Ukrainians will have the “best chance to defend themselves” after the UK’s donation of Storm Shadow cruise missiles, the Defence Secretary has said.
Ben Wallace confirmed that he and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had agreed to authorise the donation after continued Russian attacks on Ukraine.
He told the House of Commons: “Today I can confirm that the UK is donating Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine.
“Storm Shadow is a long-range, conventional-only, precision-strike capability. It complements the long-range systems already gifted, including Himars and Harpoon missiles, as well as Ukraine’s own Neptune cruise missile.”
He added: “The donation of these weapons systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend themselves against Russia’s continued brutality, especially the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, which is against international law.
“Ukraine has a right to be able to defend itself against this.”
Mr Wallace insisted it is the actions of Russia alone that “have led to such systems being provided to Ukraine” and stressed “this is a calibrated and proportionate response to Russia’s escalations”.
He noted that MPs should recognise that Storm Shadow missiles “are not even in the same league” as some of the long-range weapons Russia has used.
As he concluded his speech, the Defence Secretary added: “Try as they might, the Kremlin cannot hide the fact that their invasion is already failing.
“They can only occupy the rubble left by their destruction.”
Labour welcomed the announcement, with shadow defence secretary John Healey saying Storm Shadow “will strengthen Ukraine’s fight to repel the Russian forces”.
He added: “We are united in our determination to help in the defence of Ukraine and of our shared values … we welcome this vital new military support as the Ukrainians prepare for their expected counter-offensive.”
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