Armed with Storm Shadow, Ukraine could ‘starve’ Russian front lines of logistics, leadership.

The UK’s decision to arm Ukraine with the long-range Storm Shadow missile could serve as a game changer, with a top British officer telling Breaking Defense the weapon will be especially valuable in taking out sites vital for Russia’s logistics.

However, questions remain, including whether Ukraine is operating under restrictions with the weapon, how many weapons are being shipped to Kyiv’s aid, and what platforms might actually be used to deliver the weapons to Russian forces.

On May 11, UK MoD confirmed several days’ worth of rumours that London would be providing the air-launched, MBDA-made Storm Shadow to Ukraine. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced to parliament that the long-range missiles “are now going into, or are in, the country itself.”

Storm Shadow’s 155-mile range more than triples the reach of the longest-range weapon provided thus far from the US as part of the HIMARS rocket artillery system. It plugs a clear gap in Ukraine’s capability for the kind of strike weapon that would enable Ukrainian forces to hit Russian command posts deep inside Crimea.

“These missiles will help them to hit the command-and-control nodes, the logistics, where you have a sort of coalescence of Russian soldiers,” Rear Admiral Tim Woods told Breaking Defense in a Monday interview. “And what that means is, you are much better able to starve the front line of direction, logistics, weapons and people. And so yeah, it’s critical that we have something with this range. Because you know, that enables them to sort of fight that deep battle better.”

Woods serves as the Defence Attache at the British embassy in Washington, making him a key interlocutor for the “special relationship” between the UK and US. But he also carries significant first-hand knowledge of the Ukraine conflict, having served as the military attaché to Kyiv directly before this posting — a term that overlapped with Russia’s invasion.

“I’ve stood on Kramatorsk station, which the Russians have now hit … I’ve been to Bakhmut, and it does break my heart to see the fact that in Bakhmut, there were 70,000 people when I went there, there are now 7,000 people that have been living for nine months, without clean water, without electricity, hiding in cellars and basements,” he said. “So every time we’ve provided a piece of equipment, it’s been so that Ukraine can defend itself better. And so the idea of these long-range missiles is that they can fight the deep battle better.”

In December 2022 Wallace admonished the Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, that continuing to attack non-military targets could convince the UK to donate more advanced weapons to Ukraine. Two months later, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak echoed this warning, stating “Together we must help Ukraine to shield its cities from Russian bombs and Iranian drones. That’s why the United Kingdom will be the first country to give Ukraine longer-range weapons.”

In Wallace’s May 11 address to the House of Commons, he characterized the decision as “calibrated and proportionate to Russia’s escalations. None of this would have been necessary had Russia not invaded [Ukraine],” he added. (Former MoD officials also tell Breaking Defense that Wallace has been seeking to assume a higher profile in support of Ukraine as part of his aspirations to become the next NATO Secretary General.)

Woods, echoed those comments, noting that the Russians shouldn’t be taken by surprise: “Our embassy in Moscow notified them of the intention to provide Ukraine with this capability. And we made it very clear to the Russians, and why we did that, you know — they could end this war anytime they want.”

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One comment

  • The Russians can’t back down without losing face with the People of Russian. The idiot in charge would be hung and dried if they did, which would be a good thing for the rest of the world. Communism and Socialism have both proven to be the destructive source towards the People being free and able to decide their own destinies.

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