Britain will send anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine to defend its airspace against Russian attacks, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has announced.
The Amraam missiles are the first UK-donated missiles capable of launching cruise missiles.
It is hoped the new anti-aircraft missiles will help protect Ukraine’s infrastructure after Moscow this week launched a wave of deadly missile and drone attacks on the country’s cities and power plants.
Vladimir Putin and his forces were subsequently accused of war crimes by Britain and the G7 allies, who vowed to “continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support and… to stand firm with Ukraine for as long as necessary.”
The Kremlin’s shift in strategy toward attacks on civilian areas and infrastructure came in retaliation for an explosion that damaged the strategically and symbolically important Kerch Bridge, which connects Russia to the annexed Crimea peninsula.
The UK and other Western governments are supplying new weapons systems to Ukraine or preparing to provide more aid.
The Amraam missiles will be delivered in the coming weeks to be deployed with the United States’ pledged Nasams air defense systems, the Defense Department said.
The latest British equipment pack also includes hundreds of other air defense missiles and aerial drones, as well as another 18 howitzer artillery pieces.
Defense Secretary Wallace said: “Russia’s recent indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas in Ukraine warrant further support for those who seek to defend their nation. Therefore, today I approved the delivery of Amraam anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine.
“These weapons will help Ukraine protect its skies from attack and bolster its overall missile defenses along with US Nasams.”
The NATO defense ministers discussed additional support for Ukraine in Brussels on Wednesday, and further talks are scheduled for Thursday.
Britain will also provide £10m to the military alliance’s funding package to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including winter clothing, shelter, generators, fuel trucks and ambulances.
The UK has previously supplied Kyiv with various weapons, including the NLAW anti-tank rocket launcher, which was believed to be instrumental in the initial defense against the invasion of Moscow.