UK sends Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine

Defense chief Ben Wallace confirms Britain will send the long-range weapons

A fighter plane carrying two Storm Shadow missiles, of the kind Ukraine will receive, under its fuselage. Photo: MoD
A fighter plane carrying two Storm Shadow missiles, of the kind Ukraine will receive, under its fuselage. Photo: MoD
Laura O'Callaghan author image

Laura O’Callaghan

May 11, 2023

Britain is donating long-range Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

Announcing the decision to MPs in the House of Commons, Mr Wallace said the weapons will give Ukrainians “the best chance to defend themselves” from the Russian invasion.

The air-launched cruise missiles developed in the UK and France have a range of approximately 560km and deliver a conventional warhead weighing 450kg to its target.


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The Shadow missiles, which weigh 1,300kg, have the ability to clear soil or enter a bunker before a controlled detonation of the warhead is triggered.

“Today I can confirm that the UK is donating Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine,” Mr Wallace said on Thursday.

“Storm Shadow is a long-range, conventional-only, precision strike capability. It complements the long-range systems already gifted [by the UK] including HIMARS and Harpoon missiles, as well as Ukraine’s own Neptune cruise missile and longer-range munitions elsewhere gifted.

“The donation of these weapons systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend themselves.”

In a speech in the House of Commons, the minister said at least 23,000 Ukrainians have been killed or wounded since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

He said during several trips to the eastern European nation in recent months he has seen smashed buildings and destroyed infrastructure, which he called “visible and tragic symbols of the Kremlin’s desperation”.

Mr. Wallace said more than a year into the war, Russia “can only occupy the rubble left by their destruction”.

He dismissed Moscow’s Victory Day Parade, saying “all it did was showcase this historic failure” in Ukraine.

Earlier, reports suggested the Storm Shadow missiles had already reached Ukraine.

Alicia Kearns, chairwoman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, wrote on Twitter: “If true, this is good news. We must do everything we can to even the odds for our Ukrainian allies. Defense is never an escalation.”

Lt Gen Ben Hodges, a former commander of US forces in Europe, welcomed Britain’s donation.

“Well done UK!” he wrote on Twitter. “This will give Ukraine the capability to make Crimea untenable for Russian forces.

“Commander, the Black Sea fleet is now faced with the destruction of ships, and facilities in Sevastopol or repositioning ships to Novorossiysk, a much less capable port for the support of the Fleet.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine – pictures

Ukrainian soldiers fire a howitzer towards Russian positions, near Bakhmut in Ukraine. AP
Resident Svetlana Boiko, 66, who was wounded in recent shelling, is comforted near her destroyed house in Donetsk. Reuters
A wounded Ukrainian soldier is treated in a front-line stabilisation ambulance, near Kreminna. Reuters
A house in Donetsk destroyed in recent shelling. Reuters
Ukrainian volunteer soldiers hold their positions at the front line near Bakhmut. AFP
Volunteers carry the remains of a Uragan rocket as they clear the area around the Sviatohirsk Cave Monastery in Dolyna. AFP
A man sits inside a damaged car in the village of Chasiv Yar. AFP
Ukrainian servicemen fire at Russian positions in the region of Donbas. AFP
Rescue workers put out a fire in a house shelled by Russian forces in Kostiantynivka. AP
A Ukrainian serviceman moves towards the frontline city of Bakhmut. AFP
Vladyslav, a Ukrainian paratrooper of the 80 Air Assault brigade, rests in a dugout at the front line near Bakhmut. AP
Residents of the village of Bohorodychne cross the Seversky Donets river to retrieve bread from the other bank. AFP

Ukrainian soldiers fire a howitzer towards Russian positions, near Bakhmut in Ukraine. AP

Updated: May 11, 2023, 5:48 PM


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