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UK to send 'cutting edge' rocket system to Ukraine, defying Moscow’s warnings

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The British army's M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) fires during Summer Shield 2022 military exercise in Adazi military base, Latvia May 27, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

The UK is set to send a “cutting edge” rocket system to Ukraine to help the embattled troops halt Russia's rapid advances in the besieged east of the country, despite Moscow’s warnings of not fanning the flames of war.

The M270 multiple-launch rocket system will be sent to Ukraine, in defiance of the warning by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the provision of longer-range missiles would see Russia strike harder.

According to the British Ministry of Defense, the new artillery can hit targets up to 50 miles (80km) away with "pinpoint accuracy", The move followed Ukrainian requests for longer-range precision weapons to attack Russian heavy artillery.

“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,” UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace said in the statement.

The ministry said the latest move was in coordination with Washington's recent decision to supply a variant of the same system.

Ukrainian forces are expected to come to the UK to be trained on how to use the weapon, which is manned by a crew of three.

The UK government has until now supplied more than £750m of military gear, including more than 5,000 anti-tank missiles and 120 armored vehicles, to Kiev.

The development came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid a visit to the cities of Lysychansk and Soledar in Donbas, after earlier visit to the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev under missile attack

Meanwhile, the capital city of Kiev witnessed an intense missile attack on the outskirts of Darnytski and Dniprovski regions, with Moscow claiming that tanks supplied by Western allies were destroyed in the attack.

The attacks took place on Sunday after nearly a month of thaw. No fatalities have been reported though. 

“The Kremlin resorts to new insidious attacks. Today's missile strikes at Kyiv have only one goal - kill as many as possible,” tweeted presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.

President Putin hailed Russian troops’ advancement and said that his country’s forces were easily coping and had already destroyed western-supplied weapons by the dozen.

“Our anti-aircraft systems are crunching them (Ukrainian weapons) like nuts. Dozens have been destroyed,” Putin said in an interview reported by Russia’s RIA news agency.

The eastern part of the war-torn country also saw missile attacks and air strikes, especially in the cities and villages of the Luhansk region.

Regional governor Serhiy Haidai said helicopters had attacked Girske and Myrna Dolyna, while Ustynivka was targeted by a Su-25 jet.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

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