Britain, which has prided itself on being ahead of its Western allies in introducing new weapons systems to Ukraine, such as Western-made tanks, now appears poised to send Kyiv the long-range missiles the Biden administration has long denied, the Washington Post reports.
In a procurement notice posted on 2 May by the British-led International Fund for Ukraine, the UK’s Defense Ministry asked for “expressions of interest” in providing strike capabilities with a range of up to 300 kilometers (or about 200 miles).
WP says no final decision has been made, according to a British official who declined to confirm the type, timing, or quantity of weaponry under consideration.
“But the notice is a substantive step toward Britain itself supplying such munitions, and the requested specifications and capabilities closely match its air-launched Storm Shadow cruise missiles,” The Washington Post wrote.
The US has long denied Ukraine the ability to obtain long-range munitions out of concerns that Ukraine would fire missiles at targets in Russia. The United States has provided precision rocket systems with munitions limited to about 50 miles (or about 80 km). Ukraine has long argued that longer-range missiles could change the war’s course by allowing its forces to target Russian command centers, supply lines, ammunition, and fuel dumps deep inside occupied Crimea and Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine.
“The United Kingdom will be the first country to provide Ukraine with longer-range weapons,” British PM Sunak said in his Munich speech on 18 February.
Britain provided $2.5 billion worth of munitions to Ukraine last year, making it the second-largest supplier after the US.
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