Britain plans to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles – minister


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is planning to supply Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles to assist it defend its skies from Russian invasion, defence minister Ben Wallace mentioned, stressing that the know-how fell throughout the definition of defensive weapons.

“It is significant… that Ukraine maintains its potential to fly and suppress Russian air assault,” Wallace instructed lawmakers.

“In response to Ukrainian requests, the federal government has taken the choice to discover the donation of STARStreak excessive-velocity man-transportable anti-air missiles. We consider that this technique will stay throughout the definition of defensive weapons, however will permit the Ukrainian pressure to higher defend their skies.”

Wallace mentioned the choice had been taken in precept to supply the methods, and the federal government was figuring out how to get them into Ukraine and practice Ukrainian forces to use them.

The STARStreak system is made by Thales.

If confirmed, the supply would mark a big step in Britain’s assist for Ukraine. So far, Ukraine has praised Britain’s contribution of 1000’s of anti-tank missiles which have helped gradual the Russian advance on Kyiv.

However Britain’s assist has been restricted to defensive weaponry.

“Everything we do is sure by the choice to supply defensive methods, and are calibrated not to escalate to a strategic stage,” Wallace mentioned.

As a member of the NATO army alliance, Britain has rejected pleas from Ukraine to impose a no-fly zone over the nation. Britain says that might imply NATO forces taking pictures down Russian planes, leading to a big escalation of the battle.

A proposed plan to permit Poland to donate fighter jets to be used in Ukraine was rejected by the United States on Tuesday. Poland now says any supply of fighter jets to Ukraine have to be completed collectively by NATO international locations.

Wallace mentioned that was a matter for Poland.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Alistair Smout; modifying by William James, Michael Holden and Nick Macfie)

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