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Russia warns Storm Shadow and ATACMS are ‘raising the stakes’ in Ukraine war

Long-range weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine are ‘raising the stakes’ in a nearly two-year conflict, Russia’s foreign minister says, as the grueling war shows few signs about to end in the new year.

“Despite the failure of the Ukrainian armed forces’ ‘counter-offensive’, the West continues to inject weapons into Kiev, raising the stakes by using increasingly lethal and long-range systems in the Ukrainian conflict,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a statement. interview with the official Russian news agency Tass, published Thursday.

Western countries like the United States have channeled tens of billions of dollars in security aid to Ukraine during more than 22 months of all-out war. A significant portion of that aid has been spent on weapons, which Ukraine’s allies hope will prevent the Russian advance and allow Kiev to push Moscow’s forces eastward.

Western countries were initially reluctant to provide long-range weapons to Ukraine for fear of escalating the conflict and bringing NATO closer to direct confrontation with Moscow.

“Weapons are being supplied to NATO, including cluster munitions and depleted uranium shells,” Lavrov said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on April 25, 2023 in New York. Long-range weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine “raise the stakes” in a conflict that has lasted for almost two years, Lavrov said.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The United States provided Ukraine with an initial round of cluster munitions, known as Dual-Use Enhanced Conventional Munitions, or DPICM, shortly after Ukraine launched its summer counteroffensive in beginning of this year. These weapons are known to be very militarily effective, spreading submunitions over a wide area and causing more damage than a single strike.

However, it is precisely this attribute that makes them controversial. They can be deadly to civilians years after a conflict ends and are banned in more than 120 countries under the Oslo Convention. The United States, Ukraine and Russia are not signatories to the agreement banning their production, use or storage.

Ukraine then launched a cluster munition variant of the U.S. Army’s long-range ATACMS, or Army Tactical Missile System, to strike Russian military bases in areas controlled by Moscow from Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk in mid-October. The strikes destroyed a large number of Russian helicopters and were an embarrassing loss for Moscow.

Russia has also used various cluster munitions throughout its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The United States and the United Kingdom sent depleted uranium shells to Ukraine along with deliveries of Western-made tanks. These are kinetic rounds that do not explode, but penetrate a tank’s armor when fired at high velocity and can be used to engage enemies at greater range.

Depleted uranium munitions are “the most powerful tank munitions in existence,” former British Army Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, who previously commanded the Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Forces, previously said. and nuclear weapons of the United Kingdom and NATO. News week.

Along with this aid, countries like Britain and France have donated their long-range Storm Shadow and SCALP airborne missiles.

These missiles are the source of several important successes for Ukraine. kyiv has used cruise missiles to strike key Russian infrastructure in the annexed Crimean Peninsula and to damage Russian facilities. Rostov-on-Don submarine and the Minsk landing ship in mid-September.

On December 26, kyiv used cruise missiles to strike Russia. Novocherkassk landing ship at the Feodosia base in eastern Crimea. Ukrainian officials suggested that Storm Shadow or SCALP missiles were responsible.

“Western weapons, combined with well-planned tactical operations, lead to results,” said Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Colonel Yuriy Ihnat.