Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has confirmed that the national armed forces are already using Storm Shadow, British long-range cruise missiles, at a joint briefing with his UK counterpart Ben Wallace, RBC-Ukraine reports.
“We have had the opportunity to shake hands with the pilots that were trained in the UK and are already using the weapon named Storm Shadow,” Reznikov said.
This is the first time that Ukrainian officials have confirmed that this projectile is being used.
Wallace arrived in Kyiv for a visit earlier today. “President Putin must realise that he cannot win this illegal war that he waged. He will not succeed, while the international community will only grow stronger in opposing this aggression,” the Ukrainian Defence Ministry quoted him as saying.
Reznikov, in turn, thanked London for the support Ukraine has been receiving since the very first day of the war.
On 21 May, Ukraine and Russia reported that Ukrainian troops had struck Russia-occupied Berdyansk. Kyiv did not specify the weapon chosen for the attack. “Head” of the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region Vladimir Rogov said that Ukraine had used Storm Shadow.
Berdyansk is located just over 100 km away from the frontline. HIMARS and other similar missile systems that Ukraine has in its arsenal cannot fire that far.
On 15 May, two explosions occurred near a bus depot in Luhansk occupied by Russia. On 12 May, two blasts were reported in Luhansk. The Russian Defence Ministry the next day claimed that Ukraine fired Storm Shadow missiles at the city.
On 11 May, Wallace said that London had sent Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine. The weapon’s range stands at 250 km. The maximum range of the missiles that were previously exported to Ukraine stands at 80 km.
“Critically, the Storm Shadow has the range to strike deep into Russian-held territory in Eastern Ukraine,” CNN notes.
An anonymous source told journalists that Ukraine had vowed not to use these missiles to strike Russian territories. At the same time, CNN underlines that Western officials refer to Crimea as Ukraine’s sovereign territory.