Russia has denied that Ukrainian forces have made a breakthrough in the bloody battle for the city of Bakhmut while the United Kingdom has become the first country to supply Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles.
Ukraine has for months requested long-range missiles from its Western allies but has only received shorter-range weapons as supporters feared more advanced weapons would be used to strike targets inside Russian territory and further escalate the conflict.
UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace said on Thursday that Storm Shadow cruise missiles – which have a range of more than 250km (150 miles) compared with the US-provided HIMARS range of some 80km (50 miles) – will be sent to Ukraine.
“We will simply not stand by as Russia kills civilians,” Wallace told members of parliament when announcing that Storm Shadow missiles are being provided to Kyiv.
Wallace said the cruise missiles are being sent for use within Ukrainian territory, implying he had received assurances from Kyiv that they will not be used to hit targets inside Russia.
The Kremlin previously said that the UK’s provision of such missiles would require ”an adequate response from our military”.
Ukraine strikes back in Bakhmut, as Russia wrangles with Wagner
Russia’s Defence Ministry on Thursday was forced to deny reports that Ukrainian troops had made advances in the months-long fight for Bakhmut.