The UK will provide Ukraine with advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs) to help the country “defend its skies”, British defense minister Ben Wallace has said. The announcement follows large-scale Russian attacks on Ukrainian military targets and infrastructure earlier this week.
“I have authorized the supply of AMRAAM anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine”, Wallace said in a statement Thursday. “These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attack and strengthen its overall missile defense in conjunction with the US NASAMS.” he added.
Dozens of missiles are expected to be delivered to Ukraine in the coming weeks, according to Sky News.
London has provided 2.3 billion pounds (about $2.5 billion) worth of military aid to kyiv since the start of the conflict with Moscow in late February, but it is the first time it will supply such powerful weaponry.
The AMRAAM launchers will not come from the UK, as the missiles are expected to be fired from US-supplied National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS).
Hundreds of additional air defense missiles of other types, as well as more aerial drones and 18 howitzers, will also be sent to Ukraine, according to Britain.
The United States previously pledged eight NASAMS, and the White House said Wednesday that it was looking to deliver two of those launchers. “As soon as we can.”
The statement followed heavy Russian missile strikes in Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday. Moscow said they were in response to “terrorist tactics” employed by kyiv, which included sabotage attempts at the Kursk nuclear power plant and the TurkStream gas pipeline, as well as the Crimean Bridge truck bombing on Saturday.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that its missiles hit all their intended targets and that all the objectives of the operation were achieved. According to Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, 70 facilities of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure were attacked and the country lost 50% of its generating capacity. Ukraine’s energy minister confirmed that the missile barrage had damaged 30% of the country’s energy infrastructure.
Following the attacks, President Zelensky posted on Twitter that “air defense is currently the number one priority in our defense cooperation” with foreign partners.
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