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Italy supplies Ukraine with Storm Shadow missiles, UK Defense Secretary discloses

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps reveals Italy’s not yet officially confirmed covert provision of Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, and urges Germany to provide Taurus missiles.
A photo showing the Ukrainian SU-24 aircraft carrying the British Storm Shadow missile signed by then UK Defense Minister Wallace during his visit to Kyiv on 24 May 2023: “To all the brave ‘few’ who risk all for the glory of Ukraine. Ben Wallace, UK Secretary of Defence.” Photo: defense Ministry of Ukraine, via Twitter/UAweapons
Italy supplies Ukraine with Storm Shadow missiles, UK Defense Secretary discloses

In his interview with the Sunday Times, published on 26 April, the British Defense Secretary, Grant Shapps, mentioned that Italy, alongside the UK and France, supplies Ukraine with Anglo-French cruise missiles Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG. He said while visiting the Storm Shadow missile assembly line at MBDA UK, in Stevenage, England.

Ukraine has used the Storm Shadow missiles to devastating effect against Russian forces in the occupied south, including Crimea. These missiles have successfully targeted a submarine, several ships, and the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, along with bridges, military barracks, and other critical infrastructure.

In Stevenage, a small group of highly skilled technicians manually assembles Storm Shadow missiles by hand. Each missile costs about $2.8 million, and its export version, supplied to Ukraine, can hit targets up to 290 km away.

“I do think the Storm Shadow has been an extraordinary weapon,” Shapps said. “It’s the UK, France and Italy positioning those weapons for use, particularly in Crimea. These weapons are making a very significant difference.

Italy’s initial acquisition of Storm Shadow missiles began in 1999, with unofficial reports indicating the procurement of 200 units over the years. Although Italy’s government has not officially confirmed sending these missiles to Ukraine, some Western experts believe the transfer happened without a formal announcement, according to Defense Blog.

The Sunday Times says Shapps wants defense companies such as MBDA to be placed on what he calls a “war footing” to help Britain confront an increasingly dangerous world.

The British Defense Secretary sees Ukraine’s victory as the total expulsion of Russian troops from all seized regions of Ukraine, including Crimea.

“Putin has no right to be there at all under international law,” Shapps told the Sunday Times. “He is essentially murdering his own people by the hundreds of thousands, he is treating it [the war] like a meat-grinding factory. He does not care about his own people.”

UK calls on Germany to supply its Tauruses

Shapps urges Germany to supply its Taurus missiles to Ukraine, which have specifications similar to Storm Shadow. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz remains hesitant to transfer the Taurus missiles, concerned about escalation and the potential drawing of Berlin in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

“France, Britain, and Italy have all demonstrated that the Taurus, Storm Shadow, or Scalp (the French nomenclature for the missile, – Ed.) are devastatingly effective. They are in limited supply and there are a lot of them (Tauruses, – Ed.) available in Germany. So yes, they absolutely should be supplied. They would make a recognizable difference,” Shapps said.

  • Since May 2023, Ukraine has been actively urging Germany to supply Taurus missiles to enhance their capability to disrupt Russian logistics, yet Berlin hesitates, contrasting with the UK and France’s decision to provide Ukraine with Storm Shadow/SCALP missiles and the US decision to send its ATACMS.
  • In its 29 February resolution, the European Parliament called on the EU to give Ukraine whatever it needs to defeat Russia, including the German Taurus missile, urging no restrictions on EU military aid to Ukraine.
  • In March, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated his unwillingness to supply Taurus to Ukraine, stating that delivering them would require German staff support, which he deemed “out of the question” and a line he does not want to cross, despite experts asserting that German soldiers would not be needed on the ground to program the missiles.
  • In an interview, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy stated that Chancellor Scholz’s refusal to provide Taurus missiles has been due to fear of Putin’s nuclear threats.

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