UK will provide Ukraine with long-range weapons, Zelenskyy says
Прапор Великобританії (Photo:Nerivill / Pixabay)
The UK has agreed to supply Ukraine with long-range missiles, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a press conference on Feb. 24.
He noted that these weapons will be utilized defensively – to protect Ukraine’s population centers.
“We need to explain that long-range weapons are the defense of the civilian population,” said Zelenskyy.
“We agreed with Britain. It’s a different type (of missile than ATACMS), but it is a long-range weapon."
The president stressed yet again that Ukraine wouldn’t use it for strikes on Russian territory.
“The narrative is spreading among our partners, that long-range weapons are allegedly necessary for strikes against Russia,” Zelenskyy explained.
“However, Russia has placed its weapons on the territory of Ukraine at such a distance that they can hit the civilian population. For example, they constantly bomb Kherson, knowing that the Armed Forces of Ukraine don’t have the arms to respond to them.”
At the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 18, UK PM Rishi Sunak said the UK “will be the first country to provide Ukraine with longer-range weapons.” Subsequent media reports suggested the transfer could include Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles with a range of 250 kilometers, as it should be relatively straightforward to modify them to launch from Ukraine’s Soviet-era warplanes.
At the same time, Zelenskyy confirmed that the UK and several other unnamed countries are ready to start training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets, which suggests that Kyiv’s Western partners will eventually decide to include modern warplanes in their security assistance to Ukraine.
The United States has so far remained reluctant to transfer ATACMS missiles, which can be launched from Ukraine-operated HIMARS rocket artillery systems and can strike targets 305 kilometers away.
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