Russia Threatens to Destroy U.K. for Giving Ukraine Storm Shadow Missiles
By Isabel van Brugen,2023-05-12
The Kremlin's envoy to the annexed territory of Crimea said the U.K. risks being destroyed for its decision to supply Ukraine with long-range Storm Shadow missiles to assist in its fight against Russia.
Georgiy Muradov, permanent representative of Crimea under the Russian president, told Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti in an interview published on Friday that the U.K. may be turned "into a devastated territory" following the delivery of the weapons to Ukraine.
On Thursday, Britain became the first country to supply Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked Western allies for long-range missiles for months to assist his country in defending against Russia. The Kremlin has warned that providing weapons capable of striking Russian territory could lead to escalation in the war.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the cruise missiles are Ukraine's "best chance to defend themselves against Russia's continued brutality."
"The English island itself risks turning into a devastated territory [after providing Ukraine with depleted uranium shells and long-range missiles] aimed at the Russian Crimea," said Muradov.
Storm Shadow is an air-launched attack missile developed by the U.K. and France with a firing range of more than 250 kilometers (155 miles).
Muradov's remarks come ahead of a highly-anticipated counteroffensive from Ukraine to recapture its occupied territories, including Crimea, which was annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014. In the summer of 2022, Zelensky pledged to recapture the Black Sea peninsula.
Last month, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podolyak told Radio Liberty, which is funded by the U.S. government, he is confident his Kyiv's troops will be in Crimea in as little as five months.
Muradov was cited by RIA Novosti as saying that the U.K. is at the forefront of direct unprovoked aggression against Russia.
"This conflict had nothing to do with Great Britain. I would like to believe that not all British have yet lost the instinct of self-preservation, which, apparently, the foreigners ruling the British are trying to deprive them of," said Muradov.
Fabian Hoffmann, a missile technology expert and doctoral research fellow at the University of Oslo, said in a Twitter thread that Storm Shadow "provides Ukraine, in principle, with an extremely potent long-range strike capability against hardened targets at operational and strategic depth."
Hoffmann said it has the potential to strike the Kerch Strait Bridge, which is Russia's sole land link with the Crimean peninsula and a key supply route for Russia's forces amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Oleksiy Arestovych, who served as Ukrainian presidential adviser until he resigned in January, said Kyiv's counteroffensive will target the Kerch Bridge.
Arestovych told the YouTube channel Feygin Live, hosted by lawyer and former Russian opposition politician Mark Feygin, that one of the goals of Ukraine's counteroffensive may be an operation in the south of the country that will seek to cut Russians off from the land corridor to Crimea, paving the way for Ukraine to recapture Crimea.
"We will demolish the Crimean Bridge. All this is possible under certain conditions, we are currently arranging the conditions," Arestovych said.
Putin blamed Ukraine for an attack on the bridge in October 2022, although Kyiv denied involvement.
Newsweek has contacted the defense ministries of the U.K. and Russia for comment.
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