The United Kingdom has disclosed plans to supply Zelenskyy’s troops with new weapons system armed with high-precision Starstreak missiles to boost Ukraine’s fighting capability.
According to UK Officials, UK’s armored anti-aircraft Stormer vehicle is capable of launching a 17 high-velocity Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, which can destroy planes and helicopters.
Starstreak is Britain’s most advanced operated portable missile system. The missiles are laser-guided and split into three darts, which have a range of up to seven kilometers.
However, until now, Ukraine has only been able to fire the British missiles using shoulder launchers or portable stands, The Times said.
UK Officials noted that the 13.5-tonne Stormer vehicles are easier to operate, and Ukrainian forces will be able to speed to locations at 50mph, fire the missile, and then leave.
Officials explained that the vehicle operates with a crew of three, thus a driver, commander, and gunner. Meanwhile, sources indicated that a handful of Stormers will be deployed to Ukraine alongside 120 personnel carriers.
On how the Stormers will get to Ukrain, sources said it can be loaded onto C-17 transport planes and flown to Ukraine in days directly.
Nonetheless, the provision of Stormers to Ukraine has not been officially announced, but it is reported that Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, would be making a statement in parliament the coming week.
“It is no secret that the UK has committed to helping Ukraine with its anti-air capabilities,” a source is reported saying.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence hosted a Ukrainian government delegation at the Salisbury Plain Training Area two weeks ago and is said to have demonstrated the technology.
The move marks a significant increase in heavy weaponry to Ukraine from Britain as Russia continues with its offensive attack in the Donbas region.
So far, Western governments have only sent Ukraine shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to defend against Russian forces.
“The Stormer-Starstreak combination will boost Ukraine’s fighting capability,” Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British troops in Afghanistan stated.
“It is an extremely effective, highly mobile combat vehicle that will do severe damage to any attempts at low-level attack by Putin’s air force.”Colonel Richard Kemp
However, Kemp stated that the move is likely to anger Moscow, which has already expressed displeasure with the West for sending weapons to Ukraine.
British Forces Training Local Troops in Kyiv
The latest stormer vehicles add to a number of assistance from the UK government to Ukraine. Currently, British special forces are also believed to be training local troops in Kyiv for the first time since Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian commanders revealed.
The British soldiers have reportedly trained Ukrainian troops to use NLAWs, British-supplied anti-tank missiles.
With the latest update from Ukraine, Russian forces have made no major gains in the last 24 hours, despite increased activity. Also, Moscow is yet to establish full control of either air or sea.
Russia, however, claims a range of successes as its air force targeted multiple Ukrainian military facilities overnight.