The UK has already provided Kiev with a whopping £2.3 billion in military assistance, remaining its second largest donor after the US. Russia has repeatedly warned that such aid is only prolonging the Ukrainian conflict.
Britain plans to purchase long-range missiles for Kiev within the framework of the UK-led International Fund for Ukraine, according to an announcement published on the British government’s website.
In line with the Urgent bidding round initiative, which expires on May 4, No 10, in particular, expects to gain so-called expressions of interest from “suppliers across the globe for land, sea or air launch missiles or rockets” with a range of “100-300 km” and a payload of “20-490 kg.”
Desirable requirements for the rockets include “low probability of intercept, mission planning capability” and “air defense penetration methods to increase the probability of a successful strike.”
The UK earlier provided Kiev with several M270 tracked missile launcher systems to fire rockets with a range of up to 90 km.
Moscow has repeatedly pledged that Russian forces would drive back Ukrainian positions in case of the West supplying long-range missiles to Kiev.
“One circumstance should be clear to everyone: the more long-range Western systems will be delivered to Ukraine, the further we will be forced to move the threat away from our borders,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an address to the Federal Assembly (the Russian Parliament) earlier this year.
Putin previously cautioned that Russian armed forces would find new targets if the West provided Ukraine with long-range missiles. “If they [the missiles] are going to be supplied, we’ll make certain conclusions and use our own means of destruction – of which we have enough – to strike at targets that have not yet been hit,” Putin emphasized.