Britain has confirmed delivering precision-guided missiles to Ukraine, despite repeated warnings from Russia that Western weapon only serve to prolong the Ukraine war and will be considered "legitimate targets" for the Russian military.
The announcement was made by British Ministry of Defense via a tweet on Saturday. The ministry acknowledged arming Ukraine with Brimstone 2 missiles, saying the projectiles were meant to be deployed against Russia.
"As part of its aid package, the UK has provided Brimstone 2 missiles, a precision-guided missile, to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This aid has played a crucial role in stalling Russian advances," the ministry said.
The missiles, which each cost about £175,000 ($212,000), are said to be able to hit targets through tracking a laser mark set on them by ground forces, aircraft, or vehicles. It can alternatively scan the battlefield and pick up targets from a pre-programmed list through the use of a radar.
Developed by the European missile consortium MBDA, the Brimstone 2 missiles are available in the three air-launched, ground-launched, and ship-launched versions. The Ukrainian army uses Brimstones as part of truck-mounted missile launchers.
The new arms delivery to Kiev comes despite frequent warnings by top Russia officials that such weapon supplies only worsen the plight of the Ukrainian people and prolong the war.
In early october, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official has warned the Western countries that supplying long-range and more advanced weapons to Ukraine would cross Russia’s red lines and in that case they have to be ready for a response.
“As for the red lines, we have already designated them. First of all, these are the deliveries of long-range or more powerful weapons to Kiev. Specific measures of response to the actions by the United States and its allies supplying weapons to the Kiev regime will be defined following a thorough analysis of the developing situation,” Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second CIS Department Alexey Polischchuk told TASS news agency.
Russia's war on Ukraine started in late February with Moscow saying that it was aimed at defending the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kiev.
Ever since the beginning of the war, Ukraine's Western allies, including the European Union and the US, have been pumping the ex-Soviet republic full of advanced weapons and slapping Russia with a slew of sanctions. Moscow says such measures will only prolong the war.
Back in April, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency that Moscow would view US and NATO vehicles transporting weapons on Ukrainian territory as "legitimate military targets."
"We are making the Americans and other Westerners understand that attempts to slow down our special operation, to inflict maximum damage on Russian contingents...will be harshly suppressed,” Ryabkov warned at the time.
Moscow repeated the warning earlier this month after the United States said it was "finalizing" delivery of American Patriot missile systems to the Ukrainian forces.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Patriots would "definitely" be a target for Russia.
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