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Sunak: Long-range weapons can give Ukraine advantage on the battlefield
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Feb. 22 that providing long-range weapons to Ukraine could give the country a decisive advantage on the battlefield.
"We are always looking for ways to do more because the conditions on the battlefield are constantly changing," he told Ukrainian journalists, as quoted by the online newspaper European Pravda. "One of the things that can change the situation on the ground is the provision of more long-range weapons."
Sunak expressed confidence that, with the necessary assistance, Russia's war against Ukraine could be ended quickly.
"I believe that if we increase and accelerate our support to Ukraine, we can give the country the means to gain a decisive advantage on the battlefield much earlier. That's why we need to provide support now, and the right kind of support, so that Ukraine can not only defend its territory but also fight back against Russia," he said.
Sunak announced on Feb. 8 that the UK would provide longer-range weapons to Ukraine. However, it was not clear what kind of missiles he was referring to and when they would arrive.
The Times reported, citing its sources, that the UK was in talks on giving Ukraine Harpoon missiles, which have a maximum range of 240 kilometres, and Storm Shadow missiles, which can hit targets up to 560 kilometres away, although export versions have a much shorter range. The UK has not confirmed this officially so far.
The HIMARS missiles that Ukraine currently uses have a range of 80 kilometers and cannot reach many of the Russian-occupied areas.
On Feb. 3, the U.S. announced it would supply Ukraine with GLSDB missiles, which can travel for 150 kilometers. However, Bloomberg reported that they are likely to arrive in Ukraine in nine months, which may be too late for repelling a Russian offensive or launching a Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has so far refused to provide Ukraine with ATACMS missiles, which have a range of 300 kilometers.
Critics argue that allies’ reluctance to supply ATACMS and F-16 fighters to Ukraine will prevent Kyiv from launching a major counteroffensive and liberating the rest of Ukrainian territory. Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.