Britain gives Ukraine long-range missiles to counter ‘brutal Russian artillery’

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Britain announced on Monday that it would supply an unspecified number of long-range missile launchers to Ukraine, following the United States’ decision last week to send similar weapons. Ukrainian troops will be trained to use the systems in Britain in the coming weeks.

Ukraine has repeatedly called on the West to provide longer-range weapons as it faces a relentless barrage of Russian artillery in the eastern Donbass region.

Change tactics

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement on Monday: “The UK stands with Ukraine in this fight and plays a leading role in providing its heroic troops with vital weapons. they need to defend their country against [an] unprovoked invasion.

“As Russia’s tactics change, our support for Ukraine must also change. These highly capable multiple launch rocket systems will allow our Ukrainian friends to better protect themselves against the brutal use of long-range artillery. , who [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to raze cities,” Wallace added.

FILE – A soldier walks past an M270 multiple launch rocket system during the international military exercise Cold Response 22, in Setermoen, Norway, March 22, 2022.

precision weapons

The British M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) can fire 12 GPS-guided rockets to a range of 80 kilometers in less than a minute. The decision to send the systems to Ukraine was coordinated with Washington, which announced last week that it would send similar M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.

The weapons will give Ukraine an edge on the battlefield, according to Sidharth Kaushal, a missile systems expert at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute.

“What MLRS systems like HIMARS and the M270 will do is provide the Ukrainians with the range to engage some of the longer range Russian systems, as well as a precision guidance capability that will allow things like counter-fire. battery against long-range Russian assets, as well as the ability to strike deep Russian targets more generally.”

Kaushal said Kremlin forces had made gradual advances in recent weeks in the eastern Donbass region.

Russian artillery

“The Russians have a substantial advantage in terms of the number of systems they use, so they can make up for what they lack in precision en masse. … So it is very useful in this context to use a “ more brutal force’ approach, saturating a general area. But, of course, there is also a conscious strategic choice on Russia’s part to use civilian suffering as a tool of war,” Kaushal said.

The results are clear on the battlefield: towns and cities left in ruins and a high number of civilian casualties.

FILE - Ukrainian servicemen walk past a building heavily damaged in a Russian bombardment in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, eastern Ukraine, May 28, 2022.

FILE – Ukrainian servicemen walk past a building heavily damaged in a Russian bombardment in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, eastern Ukraine, May 28, 2022.

Change the conflict

Anti-tank missiles supplied by the West helped repel Russian armored columns advancing on Kyiv at the start of the war. Today, the nature of the conflict is changing.

“Russia has…shifted the focus of the conflict. In Donbass, it has emphasized a much slower and more gradual approach to territory seizure in which it methodically prepares the ground with large amounts of artillery fire. artillery before his troops advanced,” Kaushal noted.

Warning from Russia

Meanwhile, Putin said his armed forces would find new targets if the West supplied Ukraine with long-range missiles.

“If they are to be provided, we will draw certain conclusions and use our own means of destruction – of which we have enough to hit targets that have not yet been hit,” Putin said in a TV interview on Monday.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference that Russian forces would push back Ukrainian positions. “The longer the range of the delivered systems, the further we will move the Nazis away from the line from which threats against the Russian Federation can come,” Lavrov said Monday. Russia has repeatedly used the term Nazis to describe the Ukrainian government, which has drawn international condemnation.

Britain and the United States said they had received assurances from Ukraine that the long-range missiles would not be fired into Russian territory. Moscow warned of “absolutely undesirable and rather unpleasant scenarios” if that happened.

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