Britain has announced that it will send long-range missiles to Ukraine, joining the U.S. in bolstering the country’s defensive systems despite threats from Russia that they would target those types of weapons.
The United Kingdom’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace issued a press release announcing the shipment of multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), which can strike targets with high precision up to 50 miles away.
“The UK stands with Ukraine in this fight and is taking a leading role in supplying its heroic troops with the vital weapons they need to defend their country from unprovoked invasion,” Wallace said in a statement. “If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win.”
MLRS are similar to the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) the U.S. recently shipped to Ukraine as part of a $700 million weapons package.
Russia hit the surrounding area of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, with missile strikes on Sunday, targeting tanks and armored vehicles that were supplied by the security alliance NATO.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned on Sunday they would strike facilities housing long-range missile systems.
“If it now comes to rockets and they are supplied, we will draw conclusions from that and employ our weapons that we have in sufficient quantities to strike those facilities that we are not attacking so far,” Putin told Rossiya-1 TV channel.
The UK shrugged off the threat. In the press release, the defense ministry noted they would also train Ukrainians on how to use the rocket systems.
Wallace said with Russian forces continuing to shell cities in Ukraine, the MLRS would give them the ability to launch counterattacks.
“As Russia’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine. These highly capable multiple-launch rocket systems will enable our Ukrainian friends to better protect themselves against the brutal use of long-range artillery, which Putin’s forces have used indiscriminately to flatten cities,” Wallace said in his statement.