Britain says it is donating long-range ‘Storm Shadow’ missiles to Ukraine.

Britain is donating long-range Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine to help it reclaim territory lost to Russia since the start of its invasion, Britain’s defense secretary, Ben Wallace, told Parliament on Thursday.

The missiles, which are launched from the air, are the latest in a pipeline of military aid delivered to the country by Britain, the United States and other NATO allies and could potentially enable Ukraine to strike military targets in Crimea, a region illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.


“Ukraine has a right to be able to defend itself,” Mr. Wallace said. “The use of Storm Shadow will allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces based within Ukrainian sovereign territory.”

Mr. Wallace said he would not describe the weapon’s capabilities in detail, but he confirmed the range of the weapons was 155 miles. He said that while the Storm Shadow missiles provided new capabilities for the Ukrainians, they were “not even in the same league” as some Russian weapons. The Russian Kalibr cruise missile, he said, had “a range of over 2,000 km, roughly seven times” that of the Storm Shadow missile.

Britain has been at the forefront of donations of military aid to Ukraine and, along with Poland and the Baltic States, has pushed other European countries to supply more aid to the country. Anti-tank missiles supplied by Britain helped Ukraine repel a Russian attempt to seize the capital, Kyiv, last spring, and in January Britain pledged to send Challenger tanks to Ukraine.

In the past, announcements of weapons deliveries by Britain have been followed by decisions by the United States and other countries to supply similar classes of military aid, but it was not clear whether the pattern would hold with respect to the longer range missiles, which Ukraine has requested for months.

It was not immediately clear that the United States supported Britain’s move. The Biden administration has held off supplying Ukraine with longer range weapons over concerns that Ukraine could use them to strike targets deep inside Russia, and that President Vladimir V. Putin might respond by escalating the war.

Ukrainian officials have long insisted that Crimea is an important target and that putting pressure on Russian bases there is a significant part of their strategy. Ukrainian military officials have also discussed with American officials the importance of damaging Russia’s rear echelon in Crimea, which supports military operations elsewhere in Ukraine. U.S. officials have said Ukraine already has the firepower it needs to strike in Crimea.

One open question is whether the Storm Shadow missile will enable Ukraine to strike targets in southern Crimea, including the port city of Sevastopol, which is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Southern Crimea lies around 150 miles south of the frontline in the conflict.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe and a proponent of giving Ukraine long-range weapons, said on Twitter that the Black Sea Fleet would now be under threat. “This will give Ukraine capability to make Crimea untenable for Russian forces,” he said.

Ukraine has said it is preparing to launch a counteroffensive in the coming months. It has not said where or when it will strike, but potential targets include the belt of land north of Crimea that is occupied by Russia.

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