UK Considers Sending 'a Handful' of Advanced Missile Launchers to Ukraine
Moscow has repeatedly cautioned that the supply of lethal weapons to Kiev authorities by Western states is a mistake, which only increases casualties.
Britain will supply its high-tech Stormer armoured missile launchers to Kiev in order "to unleash hell" on Russian forces which continue their special military operation in Ukraine, The Sun has quoted unnamed sources as saying.
The sources claimed that the delivery of "a handful" of the 13--tonne launchers alongside 120 personnel carriers was previously pledged by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
"It is no secret that the UK has committed to helping Ukraine with its anti-air capabilities. The Defence Secretary will be making a statement to Parliament this week," one of the sources argued.
The insider added that the UK Defence Ministry showcased the Stormers' combat capabilities at a display on Salisbury Plain a couple of weeks ago.
The launchers, which are fitted with the Starstreak high-velocity missiles designed to tackle low-flying jets and helicopters, can be loaded on to C-17 transport planes and flown to Ukraine within days, according to The Sun.
The newspaper recalls that thus far, the Western powers, including the UK, have only provided Kiev with shoulder-mounted weapons, with the insiders praising the Stormers as "the best kit" yet sent by any Western country.
This followed the Russian embassy in Washington reportedly sending a note to the US State Department, which urged Washington and its allies "to stop the irresponsible militarisation of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security".
The document came after the US announced a new package of military assistance to Kiev worth about $800 million, which will include 200 M113 armoured personnel carriers, 18 155mm howitzers, and 500 Javelin portable anti-tank missile systems.
Earlier this month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that "pumping Ukraine with weapons from the West" does not contribute to the success of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations and will have a negative effect. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, warned that any cargo that contains weapons for Ukraine would become a legitimate target for Russia.
In one of the latest developments, the top Russian diplomat said that a new phase of the Russian special operation in Ukraine had begun, but that Moscow has no plans to press for regime change in Kiev. The remarks were preceded by Russia's Ministry of Defence (MoD) stating in late March that the Russian forces successfully completed the special operation's first stage by substantially slashing Ukraine's military potential.
The operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 24 February following a request for help from the Donbass republics amid intensifying shelling by the Ukrainian Army. The Russian MoD stressed that the operation only targets Ukraine's military infrastructure with high-precision weapons and that the civilian population is not in danger.
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