Britain is gifting long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed. CND warns that the move risks further escalation of the conflict, with a Ukrainian counteroffensive expected and growing security concerns at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. 

Wallace’s announcement in Parliament on Thursday comes after earlier reports by CNN quoting several sources. It followed a procurement notice issued by the UK government last week as part of the International Fund for Ukraine. It called for tenders to supply “long-range strike” missiles and rockets with a range of between 100-300km and a payload of up to 20-490kg. Storm Shadows have a range in excess of 250km.

Wallace defended the decision to send Storm Shadows, claiming the capability was not similar to Russia’s use of Shahed drones or Kalibr cruise missiles, which have much longer ranges. However, he wouldn’t comment on any limitations imposed on Ukraine about how Storm Shadows would be used or how they were being incorporated into Ukrainian aircraft. 

There are growing concerns of deteriorating safety at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. Earlier this week, Russia began evacuating workers from towns and areas near the plant. 
This has prompted the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, to express his concern at the “increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous” situation at the plant. He called for immediate action to prevent a severe nuclear accident and the humanitarian and environmental consequences it would bring. 

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:

“The war in Ukraine is entering a dangerous new phase where the risk of a serious nuclear accident is growing by the day. The UK government has done much to prolong the fighting  in this war but little to bring about its peaceful conclusion. CND calls on all sides involved in this conflict to ensure the safety of Zaporizhzhia and for the UK government to help deescalate this conflict.”

Image Credit: Adam Morgan and Rept0n1x