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MoD Warns of 'Proportional Response' as UK Approves Ukraine's Use of British Arms to Attack Russia

Sputnik News

Ilya Tsukanov

Earlier in the day, UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said London would consider Ukrainian strikes on logistics sites on Russian soil using British weapons fair game.

The Russian Ministry of Defence has taken note of Mr Heappey's comments on the use of British-made weapons to attack targets inside Russia, and this direct provocation by London will receive a proportional response, the MoD said in a statement.

"We would like to emphasise that London's direct provoking of the Kiev regime for such actions, in the event that they are implemented, will lead to an immediate and proportional response by Russia", the MoD said.

"As we have warned, the Russian Armed Forces are on round-the-clock standby to launch long-range precision-guided retaliatory strikes against the relevant decision-making centres in Kiev", the ministry stressed.

The MoD warned that Western military advisers known to be present in these locations "will not necessarily be a problem in Russia's decision-making on retaliatory actions".

Earlier in the day, UK Armed Forces Minister James Hippeay said London would find it "acceptable" for British-supplied arms to be used by Ukraine to carry out strikes on Russian territory.

"The question is, is this acceptable for our weapons systems to be used against legitimate Russian military targets by the Ukrainians. Firstly, it's the Ukrainians who take the targeting decision, not people who manufacture or export the kit in the first place. And secondly, it is entirely legitimate to go after military targets in the depth of your opponent to disrupt their logistics and supply lines", Hippeay said in an interview with the BBC.

The UK has sent hundreds of millions of pounds' worth of advanced military hardware to Ukraine in recent months, including thousands of anti-tank missiles. Earlier this month, London announced that it would be sending 120 Mastiff armoured troop carriers and 105mm towed light guns. On Monday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace dismissed reports that Britain would be sending Ukraine AS90 self-propelled 155mm howitzers and tens of thousands of shells.

"We first and foremost started with sourcing around the world 152mm Soviet calibre [weapons] so Ukraine can keep going with that and, in parallel, exploring with a number of other nations either 105mm, our main lightweight guns, and the 155mm in more mobile versions than the big armoured AS90", Wallace told lawmakers.

So far, the UK, the US, Canada, and France have approved plans to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, with their NATO ally Germany pressured to chip in on the effort to supply Kiev with heavy artillery.

The Western bloc has gradually pumped billions of dollars of military equipment into Ukraine over the years starting in 2014, after a US and EU-backed coup overthrew the country's elected government. While the Obama administration limited deliveries to "non-lethal" aid, the Trump administration gradually stepped up supplies to include Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other arms.

The UK announced that it would be supplying Kiev with NLAW anti-tank missiles in January. However, Russian and Donbass militia forces have since found documents and training certificates indicating that UK trainers had been instructing the Ukrainians on these weapons' use since at least 2018.

NATO's arms deliveries to Ukraine have also included heaps of Cold War-era weapons, including Soviet-made arms from the inventories of former Eastern Bloc members absorbed into NATO in the 1990s and 2000s, and Western weapons nearing the end of their useful service life.

The Russian military has done its best to seek out and destroy large stockpiles of Western weaponry delivered to Kiev through precision air and missile strikes on depots, rail junctions, and military repair facilities. At the same time, Russian diplomats have warned that efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis through negotiations will be unlikely to succeed if Kiev continues to be pumped up with weaponry by the West.

© Sputnik

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