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UK defense chief: Ukraine to increase long-range attacks inside Russia

UK defense chief Radakin believes Ukraine will increase long-range attacks inside Russia, as the West’s aid will help reshape the land fight. He notes challenges but points to longer trends favoring Kyiv.
Admiral Tony Radakin in 2021. Photo: Flickr/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa
UK defense chief: Ukraine to increase long-range attacks inside Russia

The UK Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, told the Financial Times that Ukraine is set to increase long-range attacks inside Russia, while an influx of Western military aid will help Kyiv reshape its ‘difficult’ land fight against Russia.

During a nearly six-month pause in US funding for Ukraine, Russian forces made some limited territorial gains, while Ukraine sought more long-range weapons from the West and launched strikes against Russian facilities and infrastructure within Russia. The US has provided Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles, with President Joe Biden specifying that they should only be used within Ukrainian territory. Earlier, US officials criticized Ukraine’s ongoing campaign targeting the Russian oil processing industry.

Radakin acknowledged the challenging situation for Ukraine’s defense against the Russian advance. Despite the current pessimistic outlook, he emphasized that this does not reflect “longer trends more in Kyiv’s favor,” including the latest packages of military aid from the US and Europe, Ukraine’s increasingly successful long-range strikes, and Moscow’s “total failure” to choke off Kyiv’s vital grain exports via the Black Sea.

Radakin pointed out that current perspectives often focus on a fleeting “snapshot” of the conflict, which may not accurately reflect future outcomes. He stressed the importance of moving away from “feting Russia” and the erroneous belief that Russia holds “somehow has got major advantages.”

Ukraine to continue long-range strikes, Radakin believes

As Ukraine gains more capabilities for the long-range fight […] its ability to continue deep operations will [increasingly] become a feature” of the war, Radakin told FT, adding: “They definitely have an effect.”

Radakin highlighted that the UK’s long-term supply contracts with defense suppliers enabled the UK’s defense ministry to tap into its reserves, allowing them to provide Kyiv with over 1,600 strike and air defense missiles. Furthermore, another batch of long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles was made available.

Referring to certain undisclosed elements contributing to Ukraine’s military strategy, Radakin stated that some of them will develop more significantly next year than this year, yet those “will enable Ukraine to shape [the fighting] in much stronger ways than it has before,” he said, according to FT.

Ukraine’s air assaults on Russia

This year, Ukraine escalated its attacks on Russian oil refineries and fuel depots in January 2024. Here is the short timeline of major drone attacks:

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