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UK to supply Ukraine with advanced air defense missiles

The AIM-120D3 AMRAAM, developed under the UK Defense Ministry. (File photo)

Britain will supply Ukraine with advanced air defense missiles capable of shooting down cruise projectiles, following Russian strikes on Kiev and other Ukrainian cities in recent days, UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace says.

Wallace announced the new aid ahead of a two-day NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

The missile authorized for shipment to Ukraine is called the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).

Furthermore, the UK will also be providing Ukraine with hundreds of drones to support its intelligence services, and 18 howitzer artillery guns, in addition to 64 already delivered.

“These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense alongside the US NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System),” Wallace aid.

The UK has previously supplied Kiev with various weapons, including the NLAW anti-tank missile launcher.

Ukraine’s key Western allies gathered in Brussels in order to discuss how to boost support for Ukraine and replenish allies’ depleted military stockpiles. They pledged new air defenses and more aid on the sidelines of the meeting.

“Allies have provided air defense, but we need even more. We need different types of air defense, short-range, long-range air defense systems to take out ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones, different systems for different tasks,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said before the meeting in Brussels.

Additionally, speaking in an interview on France 2 TV channel on Wednesday night, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that France would deliver its own anti-aircraft defense systems to Ukraine.

The pledges from Paris and London follow similar announcements from the US and Germany this week. Germany said on Wednesday that the first of four IRIS-T air defense systems had reached Ukraine.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they (Ukrainians) have what’s required to be effective.”

And Canada said it would provide over C$47 million in new military aid to Ukraine, with the package including artillery rounds, satellite communications, winter clothing, and drone cameras.

On Monday, Russia fired more than 80 cruise missiles and 24 drones into Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin had suggested in remarks following the mass strikes that the attacks were a response to a bombing on the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea.

Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the bridge bombing. But Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has said the bombing was “the beginning.” Ukraine says the bridge served as a key transport link for carrying military equipment to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, especially in the south.

Following the Russian strikes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to countries to strengthen their response and help boost Ukraine’s air defense systems.

“The best response to Russian missile terror is the supply of anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems to Ukraine… This will protect our cities and our people. This will protect the future of Europe,” Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.

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