British-made long-range artillery and anti-ship systems, which the UK has promised to Kiev, will become legitimate targets for Russian troops if delivered to Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to the UK, Andrey Kelin, said in an interview with the TASS news agency on April 2.
“All arms supplies are destabilizing, particularly those mentioned by [UK Defense Secretary Ben] Wallace,” Kelin said. “They exacerbate the situation, making it even bloodier. Apparently, those are new, high-precision weapons. Naturally, our armed forces will view them as a legitimate target if those supplies get through the Ukrainian border.”
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said last week that more “lethal aid” will be sent to Ukraine, including longer-range artillery and anti-ship system.
Prior to that, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to provide Ukrainian forces with 6,000 missiles as well as Starstreak MANPADs [man-portable air-defense systems], in addition to the 4,000 NLAW and Javelin anti-tank missiles already supplied. Shipments of the Starstreak system have already arrived in Ukraine.
The UK has been leading Western efforts to support the Kiev government side by side with the US. Britain hopes that Western military support will eventually lead to the failure of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, which started on February 24.
The Russian military has already destroyed or captured several shipments of Western-supplied weapons, including British-supplied NLAW anti-tank missiles.
In his interview with TASS, Kelin noted the illusory perception of military actions in Ukraine in the UK. According to the Russian diplomat, the British media have been relying mainly on “overly positive” reports of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the leadership of Ukraine.
The UK’s decision to provide military support to Ukraine will likely have a negative impact on the Kingdom’s relations with Russia for the long term.