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UK Prime Minister: Ukraine can use British Storm Shadow missiles to strike Russia

In his first NATO summit as Prime Minister, Keir Starmer reaffirmed Britain’s support for Ukraine’s defensive operations, including potential strikes inside Russia.
Scalp Storm shadow missile
The Storm Shadow/ Scalp missile. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
UK Prime Minister: Ukraine can use British Storm Shadow missiles to strike Russia

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer said that Ukraine has the authority to use UK-supplied Storm Shadow missiles against military targets within Russian territory.

This stance reaffirms the policy of the previous UK administration regarding the use of long-range weapons in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

During his journey to the NATO summit in Washington, Starmer told Bloomberg journalists that it was “for Ukraine to decide how to deploy [the missiles] for those defensive purposes.”

He emphasized that their use must comply with international humanitarian law, describing the weapons as intended “for defensive purposes.”

Storm Shadow missiles, known for their precision guidance and range exceeding 250 kilometers, have been a point of contention in international discussions about military aid to Ukraine. While some European nations, including the UK, have shown support for Ukraine’s position on striking military targets inside Russia, the United States has maintained restrictions on Kyiv’s use of its weapons to prevent escalation with Moscow.

Starmer’s comments mark the first time he has committed his new administration to this policy following his recent UK general election victory. His stance echoes that of his predecessor, Rishi Sunak, whose government implied Ukraine could use Storm Shadows to strike inside Russia without explicitly stating it.

Addressing the recent Russian strike on a Ukrainian hospital, Starmer described it as an “absolutely shocking, appalling attack” that provided “a very important if tragic backdrop to this summit.”

The Prime Minister also delivered a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “This NATO summit should be seen as a clear and united resolve by NATO allies and others that are there at the same time to stand with Ukraine and stand up to Russian aggression.”

According to Jamie Shea, a former NATO official and current associate fellow at Chatham House, Starmer’s statement has “given President Zelenskyy a shot in the arm.” Shea told Bloomberg that while Ukrainians need the ability to strike significant Russian military targets, NATO leaders would likely draw a red line at strikes against Russian civilian targets.

Read the follow-up:

UK clarifies stance on Storm Shadow missiles, denies permission for use in Russia

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