UK boosts Ukraine capability by sending long-range Storm Shadow missiles

The delivery of Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine was signed off after the defence secretary was offered guarantees that the system will not be used to attack Russia itself, as ITV News Correspondent John Ray reports

The UK is sending Ukraine long-range, high-precision missiles, which will provide the war-torn country with "new capabilities" and allow a "push back" of Russian forces based across the border.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that he and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had agreed to authorise the donation of Storm Shadow missiles after continued Russian attacks on Ukraine.

He told the Commons: "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".

Russia recently launched a new campaign of bombing across Ukraine, ahead of a much anticipated counteroffensive planned by the Ukrainian military.

Zelenskyy's military is planning what to do next. Credit: AP

The Kremlin's forces are deeply entrenched in eastern areas of Ukraine with layered defensive lines reportedly up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) deep.

President Zelenskyy said his military needs more time to prepare a counteroffensive because to launch it now would cause too many lives would be lost.

In an interview on Thursday, he said: “With (what we have) we can go forward and be successful. But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time."

A Ukrainian fightback against Russia's invasion has been expected for weeks - Ukraine is receiving advanced Western weapons, including tanks and air defenses, and Western training for its troops as it gears up for an expected assault.

Zelenskyy's approach will be "a simple one" he said, adding : "We will do everything to make the enemy run. Where will he end up? Honestly, I think it depends on our spirit."

"I can't tell you specifically where we will get in the counter-offensive actions. We have many different steps. And I think we will achieve the appropriate result.

"But to say that immediately after this counter-offensive the full sovereignty of Ukraine will be restored... I can't say that yet, because it's a war."

Ukrainian troops are in need of 'more time' before the assault, Zelenskyy said. Credit: AP

He also acknowledged the "fatigue" Western allies may have in their support of Ukraine, but insisted it is important people remain invested.Mr Wallace said the new missiles, with a range of around 150 miles, "will allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces based within Ukrainian sovereign territory".

Mr Wallace would not give further details about the capabilities, but added that "while these weapons will give Ukraine new capability, members should recognise that these systems are not even in the same league as the Russian AS-24 killjoy hypersonic missile" or "even the Kalibr cruise missile with a range of over 2,000 kilometres, roughly seven times that of a Storm Shadow missile".

Mr Wallace went on: "Russia must recognise that their actions alone have led to such systems being provided to Ukraine.

"It is my judgment as defence secretary that this is a calibrated and proportionate response to Russia's escalations."

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