Russia denies Ukraines push to deploy cruise missiles in Britains

Ukraine attacked Luhansk with British missiles: Moscow – Al Jazeera English

According to Russia, the long-range Storm Shadow missiles hit a polymer production plant and a meat processing plant.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukrainian planes carrying UK-supplied long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles attacked two industrial sites in the Russian-controlled city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

The United Kingdom on Thursday became the first to announce it had started delivering long-range cruise missiles to Kiev, which would allow it to hit Russian troops and supply dumps far behind the front lines as the country prepares a major counteroffensive.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the missiles could be used on Ukrainian territory, implying he had received assurances from Kiev that they would not be used to strike targets within Russia’s internationally recognized borders.

On Saturday, the Russian ministry said the missiles hit a polymer production plant and a meat processing plant in Luhansk on Friday.

“Storm Shadow air-to-air missiles supplied by Britain to the Kiev regime were used in the attack, contrary to statements by London that these weapons would not be used against civilian targets,” the ministry said.

It also said Russia shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets — a Su-24 and a MiG-29 — that were firing the missiles.

In its latest bulletin, the ministry also said that Russian forces had gained control of another block in the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Moscow has been trying to capture in a grueling artillery battle for more than a decade.

“The airborne troops supported the attack units and pinned the enemy on the flanks,” it said.

The ministry often uses the term “assault units” to refer to the private Wagner militia that led the attack on Bakhmut, inflicting heavy casualties.

EU demands long-range weapons for Ukraine

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Saturday urged European nations to provide Ukraine with long-range arms to help it fend off Russian attacks while speeding up arms supplies overall.

“The Russians are bombing from a long distance, so the Ukrainians have to be able to get … the same distance and the same range,” Borrell said after meeting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Stockholm.

“But we have to move faster,” he said, as Germany announced a new €2.7 billion ($2.95 billion) arms package for Ukraine, including tanks, armored vehicles and air defense systems.

“I welcome the German efforts and invite all member states to follow this example,” Borrell said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Western allies to provide more advanced weapons ahead of a widely expected counter-offensive against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

Zelenskyy is also trying to speed up the process, launched in February 2022, for formal talks on Ukraine’s EU membership after the Russian invasion.