According to The Washington Post, the UK Ministry of Defence issued a document seeking “expressions of interest” for strike capabilities that can reach up to 300 kilometers.
The notice required a response within three days. Although a final decision has not been made, the request is seen as a significant move towards the UK potentially providing such munitions.
The report suggests that the specifications requested are likely for air-launched Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
According to The Washington Post, Ukraine has been requesting Western countries to provide it with long-range missiles for a while now, stating that such arms could alter the course of the war by allowing Ukrainian forces to target Russian command centers, supply routes, and fuel and ammunition depots deep inside Crimea and eastern Ukraine’s temporarily occupied territories.
As Kyiv prepares to initiate a major counteroffensive in the coming weeks, The Washington Post observed that the capability to strike well beyond the front line will aid in clearing the way for a ground offensive involving tanks and infantry troops.
According to reports, Storm Shadow cruise missiles can be fitted on Ukrainian jets of Soviet origin, and could potentially reach targets in Russia. However, Ukraine has given assurances to the West that any donated weapons will not be used to strike Russian territory.
The fear of Ukraine launching missiles at Russian targets is a primary reason why the US has repeatedly turned down Kyiv’s appeals for long-range American weaponry.