This article by Mia Jankowicz was originally published by Business Insider.
Storm Shadow missiles provided to Ukraine by the U.K. are striking their targets with nearly pinpoint accuracy, sending Russian operations into disarray, the U.K. said Monday.
U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace said in a statement to the House of Commons that “the Storm Shadow missile has had a significant impact on the battlefield.”
“Its accuracy and ability to deliver successfully the payload, as sent and designed by the Ukrainians, has been almost without fault,” he added.
According to its manufacturer, MBDA, the air-launched missile has a range exceeding 155 miles and is designed to fly low after launch to evade detection.
An onboard infrared target-seeking system allows it to recognize planned targets for a precision strike, MBDA says.
The missile’s range means it can strike dramatically beyond the reach of the much-celebrated HIMARS launchers sent by the U.S. to Ukraine, which were modified to keep their range within about 50 miles, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Storm Shadow’s effect on the Russian army in Ukraine has been primarily around its logistics, as well as command and control, Wallace said.
After being pummeled last year by HIMARS, Russian forces adapted by moving their command and control nodes out of range, Wallace told the British Parliament.
This is “why deep fires became important,” he said, urging Ukraine’s allies to provide further long-range equipment.
On Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused Ukraine of using the missiles to strike the Chonhar bridge, a key conduit connecting the Russian-held Kherson to Crimea, The Telegraph reported.
Ukraine did not immediately claim responsibility for the strike, which extensively damaged the bridge. But a defense-intelligence spokesperson nonetheless promised “more of this,” according to the newspaper.
A strike on the bridge using a Storm Shadow missile would be within the bounds of the U.K.’s conditions for Ukraine’s use of the weapon, which is intended to be fired on Ukrainian territory only — a long-held condition of Western-provided military aid.
Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, but it nonetheless remains recognized as a Ukrainian sovereign territory by the vast majority of the international community.
Russia, however, had warned that strikes on Crimea using Western-supplied weapons “would mean that the United States and Britain would be fully dragged into the conflict.” It also threatened retaliation on “decision-making centers in Ukraine,” The Telegraph reported.
Feature Image: Storm Shadow Scalp Demonstrator in black (Photo by Boevaya mashina/Wikimedia Commons)
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