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30 Dec, 2023 08:51

UK to send fresh missile shipment to Ukraine

The West must redouble its efforts to provide Kiev with military hardware, Britain’s defense secretary has said
UK to send fresh missile shipment to Ukraine

London will send 200 more missiles to Kiev, the Defense Ministry announced on Friday, following a massive wave of Russian strikes on Ukrainian targets.

Last year, Britain developed air defense systems that could launch Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM) from the ground, to suit the needs of the Ukrainian military, and trained Kiev’s troops on how to operate them, the ministry said in a statement.

According to the UK Defense Ministry, London has already provided Kiev with £4.6 billion ($5.86 billion) worth of military aid, with another £2.3 billion set aside for Ukraine until the end of the financial year on March 31.

Ukraine said that on Thursday and Friday it came under the largest Russian drone and missile assault since the start of the conflict in February 2022, detecting at least 158 projectiles. Kiev claimed that 27 drones and 87 cruise missiles were intercepted. The attack reportedly left 30 people dead and 160 wounded.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that it had conducted 50 “group” strikes and a single “massive” barrage with UAVs and high-precision weapons against defense industry sites, military airfields, arms depots, and troop positions. All of the targets were successfully hit, it added.

Moscow’s envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, blamed the civilian casualties on malfunctioning Western-supplied air defense systems, which, he said, are deliberately deployed in residential areas by Ukraine. “It is difficult to imagine greater cynicism. If not for the work of the Ukrainian air defense, there would have been no civilian casualties,” Nebenzia stated.

Regarding the missile attack, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is testing Ukraine’s defenses and the West’s resolve, hoping that he can clutch victory from the jaws of defeat. But he is wrong.”

“Now is the time for the free world to come together and redouble our efforts to get Ukraine what they need to win,” he said.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that deliveries of weapons to Ukraine by the US, UK, and their allies will only prolong the fighting and increase the risk of a direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO, also arguing that the provision of arms, intelligence-sharing, and training of Ukrainian troops means that Western nations have already become de facto parties to the conflict.