The Kremlin has blamed Britain’s Storm Shadow missiles for a devastating long-distance attack on war-torn Mariupol as Ukraine mounts a fight against its Russian occupiers.
The once fiercely defended Ukrainian city, now in Russia’s Donetsk sector, reported two missile attacks on Friday, where a months-long siege early in the war left much of the city in ruins.
Two successive attacks hit the besieged city, one of them reportedly hitting the Azovstal steel works, where Ukrainian forces once fought to fend off Russian attack.
The state Kremlin news agency Tass quoted an unnamed official as saying the missiles were long-range Storm Shadows, which Britain delivered to Ukraine earlier this month.
Britain delivered the Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine earlier this month. The long-range missiles mean Ukraine could strike deep into eastern Russian-controlled territory.
Mariupol in Russia’s Donetsk sector reported two missile attacks on Friday.
Storm Shadow missiles allow Ukraine to attack Russian troops and logistics centers far behind the front line.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Hiroshima during the G7 summit on May 20, 2023.
Two strikes hit the city’s industrial zone, said Russia’s pro-war Rybar Telegram channel with 1.1 million followers.
Ukraine has yet to take responsibility for the attack or say it used the Storm Shadow missiles.
The missiles, jointly developed by the UK and France, have a firing range of more than 250 km (155 miles). This would mean that kyiv could strike deep into Russian-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine, where the fiercest battles are taking place.
Britain’s supply of the Storm Shadow missiles was announced earlier this month by Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and was welcomed by Ukraine.
The missiles, which cost around £2.2m, will allow Ukraine to attack Russian troops and logistics centers far behind the front line in a major coup for Vladimir Putin.
Britain had received assurances from the Ukrainian government that these missiles would be used only within Ukraine’s sovereign territory and not within Russia, several senior Western officials said.
After the attacks, Kremlin-appointed Mariupol chief Oleg Morgun told residents to “remain calm and trust only official sources of information.”
RT claimed that Russian air defenses had aimed the missiles at the city, the scene of the notorious siege of Mariupol between February 24 and May 20 last year, when more than 10,000 people are feared dead.
RIA Novosti quoted pro-Putin Donetsk People’s Republic officials as alleging that the incoming attacks were from British Storm Shadow missiles.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with officials in the Kremlin on May 26, 2023.
Two successive attacks hit the besieged city of Mariupol, one of which reportedly hit the Azovstal steel works.
The once fiercely defended Ukrainian city of Mariupol, now in the Russian-controlled sector of Donetsk, reported two missile strikes on Friday.
Another port on the Azov Sea, Berdiansk, was hit for the second day in a row today in another alleged long-range missile attack by Ukraine.
The Storm Shadow, also known as SCALP, is an air-to-surface missile that can hit fixed or stationary targets.
Length: 16 feet 9 inches
Range: 350 miles
Both are strategically important as entry points for Putin’s forces into Crimea, annexed in 2014.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry official Maria Zakharova has singled out Britain for incursions by anti-Putin supporters inside Russian territory near Ukraine, saying Moscow may break off diplomatic relations with London.
“We do not rule out that the British have participated in the planning, organization and support of the terrorist attacks carried out by the Kiev regime on the territory of Russia, including the provision of intelligence information,” he said.
‘As has been repeatedly emphasized, the Russian side reserves the right to take appropriate response measures, where and when it deems it necessary.
“Full responsibility for the consequences of London’s destructive activity rests entirely with the authors and perpetrators of these reckless acts.”
Terminating diplomatic relations was an “extreme measure that should not be ruled out taking into account the totality of factors,” said Zakharova, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
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