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Despite Russia’s danger to the West, the UK is delivering its first long-range missiles to Ukraine, according to the defence secretary.
According to Ben Wallace, the M270 multiple-launch rocket system will improve Ukraine’s defense against Russia.

The government has not confirmed the number of weapons that will be deployed, although the BBC believes that three will be sent at first.

The move comes after the United States stated last week that it will also deliver a missile system.

The decision by the United States to send its own M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) has already enraged Moscow, and Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened on Sunday to expand the list of targets Russia will attack in Ukraine if Western countries send long-range weapons to Kyiv.

The Ukrainian military will be trained on how to operate the launchers in the next weeks, according to the UK government.

The multiple-launch rocket system can fire 12 surface-to-surface missiles in a minute and can hit targets within 50 miles (80 kilometers) with precise precision – much beyond Ukraine’s present artillery.

Mr Wallace stated that the UK was taking the lead in providing Ukrainian military with the “critical armaments they need to protect their nation against aggressive invasion.”

He said: “As Russia’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine.
“These highly capable multiple-launch rocket systems will enable our Ukrainian friends to better protect themselves against the brutal use of long-range artillery, which Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to flatten cities.”

The United Kingdom and the United States have led the way in sending weaponry to Ukraine, but providing it with modern long-range rockets represents a significant shift, according to BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale.

It also acknowledges that Ukraine is struggling to match with Russia’s enormous artillery arsenal, he says.

Last week, Washington announced that it would deliver four HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine in exchange for assurances that they would be used solely for defensive purposes and not to strike targets within Russia. The similar restriction applies to the usage of the M270 system in the United Kingdom.

In an interview on Russian state TV on Sunday, Mr Putin said: “In general, all this fuss about additional arms supplies, in my opinion, has only one goal – to drag out the armed conflict as long as possible.”

If longer-range missiles arrive in Ukraine, Putin says his country would “make appropriate conclusions” and “attack at those targets that we are not yet targeting.”

The warning came as explosives jolted portions of Kyiv on Sunday, the capital city’s first attack in weeks, while heavy combat for control of major towns and cities in the eastern Donbas area continued.

After withdrawing from the Kyiv area, Russia refocused its military operations on the Donbas at the end of March.

Some of the most violent combat is presently taking place in the eastern city of Severodonetsk. Capturing the city would give Russian forces and their local rebel allies control of the Luhansk area, as well as much of neighboring Donetsk. The two regions combine to form the heavily industrialized Donbas.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, announced on Sunday that he had visited front-line soldiers in the eastern Donbas area, namely the cities of Lysychansk and Soledar.

Since Russia’s invasion in February, the United Kingdom and the United States have been among the primary nations in providing armaments to Ukraine.

The UK has also given around 5,000 next generation light anti-tank guns, known as Nlaw, which analysts think have been essential in preventing Russian ground assaults against Ukraine since the crisis began.

Other armament systems given by the government include short-range Brimstone 1 missiles, Mastiff armoured vehicles, and Starstreak missile air defence systems, with the government estimating that overall military support to Ukraine has cost £750 million.

Several other countries have committed to deliver Ukraine modern weaponry. Germany has agreed to provide its most advanced air defense system, the Iris-T, to Ukraine, allowing it to protect an entire city against Russian air raids.


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