UK Sending Ukraine Long-Range Cruise Missiles

Iryna Rybakova via AP
Ukrainian soldiers prepare self-propelled howitzer shells in Chasiv Yar, the site of heavy battles with the Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, May 11, 2023.

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. is sending Ukraine long-range cruise missiles to help push back Russian forces, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Thursday. It’s the first known shipment of the weaponry that Kyiv has long sought from its allies.

Wallace told lawmakers in the House of Commons that Britain is donating Storm Shadow missiles, which have a range of more than 250 kilometers (155 miles). He didn’t say how many are being sent.

Wallace said the missiles “are now going into or are in the country itself.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged in February that Britain would be the first country to give Ukraine longer-range weapons.

The missiles give Ukraine capacity to strike well behind the front lines, including in Russia-occupied Crimea. U.K. media reported that Ukraine has pledged not to use the missiles to attack Russia itself.

Wallace said the missiles would be used to push back Russian forces in “Ukrainian sovereign territory.” He said U.K. support for Ukraine is “responsible, calibrated, coordinated and agile.”

“We simply will not stand back while Russia kills civilians,” Wallace said.

He said U.K. officials would not comment publicly on whether Britain had placed any limitations on the missiles’ use.