Belligerent UK’s long-range missile delivery cranks up Ukraine war
British Storm Shadow missiles have arrived in Ukraine. The delivery of long-range weapons has angered Russian leaders and caused concern among allies. The UK’s belligerence in regard to Ukraine has caused tensions before. Of course, a stockpile of weapons which could penetrate deeply into Russian territory risks a wider escalation of the war.
Defence minister Ben Wallace announced the delivery just hours after Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned his military didn’t have enough weapons for a planned spring offensive.
Hike in tension
Wallace told MPs:
The use of Storm Shadow will allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces based within Ukrainian sovereign territory.
Russia must recognise that their actions alone have led to such systems being provided.
Russian foreign minister Dmitry Peskov also commented on the news:
This will require an adequate response from our military, who … will make appropriate decisions.
The Storm Shadow’s capabilities make it appealing to Ukraine and concerning for Russia. It is an air-to-surface missile with a range of up to 200 miles.
It is also battle-tested: the UK and French air forces have used it in Iraq and Libya. According to reports, Ukraine’s longest-range weapon at present is the US-supplied Himars rocket. That system can fire out to 47 miles, making the Storm Shadow a game-changing weapon.
So far the US has resisted supplying longer-range missiles. Yet the Americans have publicly supported the new delivery. A US official said that “each country makes their own sovereign decision”.
Former PM Boris Johnson made a show of his support for Ukraine. It is at least arguable that this was an outcome of his domestic political woes as much as any commitment to the country. Nevertheless, the UK has continued to lavish support on the country. This has included vast amounts of material aid: mainly arms and supplies such as main battle tanks.
The UK has also trained thousands of Ukrainian troops in the country. And it was recently revealed that the UK had the highest number of special forces of any ally in the country.
The British government – and its friends in the arms trade – are steadfastly committed to war. Barring deploying troops in a combat role, it seems there is nothing they won’t do to escalate the situation. Meanwhile, peace remains an elusive and largely unmentioned concept.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/David Monniaux, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0.
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