Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced on Monday that the UK would send Ukraine an unspecified number of M270 launchers. The terrifying weapons can strike targets that are up to 80km away with pinpoint accuracy. The decision was coordinated with the US, which is sending its similar High Mobility Artillery Rocket System HIMARS system to Ukraine too.
These fires precision-guided rockets can hit targets up to 70km (45 miles) away – far further than any weapons the Ukrainian army currently uses.
Mr Wallace said: “The UK stands with Ukraine in this fight and is taking a leading role in supplying its heroic troops with the vital weapons they need to defend their country from unprovoked invasion.
“If the international community continues its support, I believe Ukraine can win.
“As Russia’s tactics change, so must our support to Ukraine.
“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.”
But this has clearly shaken up Russia, which sent a horror warning in response.
The Head of the Russian parliament’s Defence Committee Andrey Kartapolov warned: “Russia will respond to the supply of multiple-launch rocket systems and long-range missiles to Ukraine by targeting transport infrastructure facilities and government buildings.”
This also comes after Russian Defence Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the west not to supply these weapons.
He said at a press conference: “The longer the range of the systems that will be delivered, the further we will move back the Nazis from that line from which threats to Russian-speakers and the Russian Federation may come.”
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This comes as Ukraine has admitted it is beginning to struggle with its defence in parts of eastern Ukraine, particularly Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in Donbass.
Russia has ramped up artillery strikes in these two cities in recent weeks.
Severodonetsk Regional Governor Sergiy Gaiday told Ukraine’s 1+1 television: “Fighting is very fierce in Severodonetsk.
“Our defenders managed to counter-attack and liberate half of the city, but the situation has worsened for us.”
He added that the Russian army is “destroying everything” with its “scorched earth tactics”, leaving “nothing left to defend”.
If Russian soldiers were able to capture the city, Russian forces and their local separatist allies may be able to take control of the Luhansk region.