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Ukraine war latest: UK delivers long-range missiles ahead of Ukraine's counteroffensive

by Alexander Khrebet May 11, 2023 10:29 PM 6 min read
Storm Shadow/SCALP missile loading on a Rafale, a French multirole fighter aircraft. (Thierry Wurtz/MBDA)
This audio is created with AI assistance

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Key developments on May 11:

  • Russian attacks kill 1, injure 10 in Donetsk Oblast
  • UK delivers long-range missiles to Ukraine
  • Ukraine needs more time to prepare for counteroffensive, says Zelensky
  • Alleged drone attacks reported in 3 Russian regions

The U.K. has already delivered long-range Storm Shadow attack missiles, capable of striking deep into Russian-occupied territories, CNN reported on May 11, citing unnamed senior Western officials.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace later confirmed in parliament "donating Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine."

"The donation of these weapon systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend themselves against Russia's continuous brutality," Wallace said, adding that Ukraine has the right to defend itself.

The air-launched Storm Shadow missile, jointly developed by the U.K. and France, has a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles), aiming at the target at 987 kilometers per hour or 0.8 of the speed of sound.

Wallace hasn't specified the number of missiles London donated. Wallace added the missiles would be compatible with Ukraine's existing Soviet-era planes.

"The use of Storm Shadow will allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces base within Ukraine's sovereign territory," said Wallace, mostly referring to the land and marine Russian military sites in the occupied Crimean Peninsula.

Ukraine promised the U.K. government not to use Storm Shadow missiles against targets within Russian territory, according to an official cited by CNN.

However, Ukraine and its allies were repeatedly eloquent that Crimea and other Russian-occupied territories are the legitimate targets for Ukraine's military.

Kyiv said it would use donated long-range weapons to attack Russian command centers, supply lines, ammunition, and fuel depots deep in Crimea and behind the almost 1000-kilometer-long frontline into occupied territories in the south and east.

The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, as reported by Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti, that Moscow "is extremely negative" about the news.

The Storm Shadow missile is "a real game changer from a range perspective," a top U.S. military official told CNN, and gives Kyiv the capabilities it has been requesting.

Retired U.S. General Ben Hodges, who commanded U.S. troops in Europe, said the Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea is now facing strikes against warships or facilities in occupied Sevastopol, a headquarters to the Russian Black Sea fleet.

The Storm Shadow delivery "will give Ukraine the capability to make Crimea untenable for Russian forces," Hodges tweeted on May 11.

Ukraine's Air Force hasn't commented on the delivery yet.

Prior, journalists from Krym Realii media outlet published a map on May 10 that geolocates 223 active, temporary and preserved military facilities in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Russia has been using Crimea to launch missiles against Ukraine and as a logistic route to transfer equipment to the southern battlefield.

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'A bit more time'

The Storm Shadow delivery comes ahead of Ukraine's anticipated counteroffensive.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine needs "a bit more time" to launch its offensive campaign as the country is waiting for the delivery of pledged military hardware, Zelensky said in an interview with the BBC published on May 11.

"With (what we already have), we can go forward and, I think, be successful," Zelensky said. "But we'd lose a lot of people. I think that's unacceptable. So we need to wait."

Ukraine's combat brigades, some of which were trained by NATO members, are "ready," however, the Ukrainian army still requires "some things," particularly armored vehicles, which "arrive in batches," Zelensky said.

The outcome of Ukraine's counteroffensive is expected to be a turning point in the war that will determine whether Ukraine liberates more territories or is pressured by allies to meet with Russia at the negotiating table.

"They can't pressure Ukraine into surrendering territories," Zelensky said.

Russian attacks kill 1, injure 10 in Donetsk Oblast

Russian forces shelled Toretsk in Donetsk Oblast with Smerch, a multiple rocket launch system, injuring nine people, the Prosecutor General's Office said on May 11.

President's Office Head Andriy Yermak said Russian forces hit a residential area in the town, which has been located right next to the front line since 2014 when Russia began its war.

The first Russian artillery attack on May 11 injured one civilian in Toretsk. Two hours later, Russian forces used Smerch MLRS to attack the town, injuring five men and three women, including a family of three, according to the report.

The attack also damaged houses, garages, and cars.

Russian forces also struck Sloviansk, Kostiantynivka in Donetsk Oblast, and the city of Zaporizhzhia with S-300 missiles, killing and injuring civilians.

The Russian strike on Sloviansk killed a woman and injured her daughter, Mayor Vadym Liakh reported on the morning of May 11.

The General Staff said it recorded 46 airstrikes and 69 shellings on May 11 against Ukraine's forces and settlements.

Russian forces also attacked Sumy, Chernihiv, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kherson oblasts on May 11, according to the military.

Donetsk Oblast is the primary goal for Russian forces, as Moscow aims to occupy the entire region, more than half of which it currently controls.

The region is the site of the war's fiercest fighting.

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Alleged drone attacks reported inside Russia

Alexander Bogomaz, the governor of Russia's Bryansk region, claimed on May 11 that a Ukrainian drone had allegedly hit an oil depot in Klintsy.

The oil depot is owned by the Russian state oil company Rosneft.

The attack purportedly damaged the depot's foundation and the oil storage tank, according to Bogomaz. No casualties were reported.

Roman Starovoyt, the governor of Russia's Kursk region, claimed that Ukrainian forces hit an electrical substation in the village of Tyotkino, allegedly interrupting the power supply.

Russia's Belgorod Oblast has also reportedly came under fire, according to Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. He said that seven settlements were left without electricity.

In recent weeks, there has been an increasing number of reports about attacks on railway networks and oil refineries within Russia's regions that border or are close to Ukraine.

All three mentioned Russian regions border Ukraine.

Ukraine hasn't commented on whether it was responsible for the attacks.

Russia has been regularly shelling Ukraine's northeastern regions bordering Russia.

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