Britain said Wednesday that how Kyiv uses donated cruise missiles is "the business of the armed forces of Ukraine," following comments by Germany's Olaf Scholz about possible UK and French involvement in targeting.

Britain was the first country to provide the longer-range weapons to the Ukrainian military following Russia's 2022 full-scale invasion, announcing last May that it would send the country air-launched Storm Shadow missiles.

France and other allies have followed suit and are now sending Kyiv cruise missiles.

But London has not confirmed what, if any, roles UK military personnel may play assisting Ukraine with their operational use and in targeting choices.

"Ukraine's use of Storm Shadow and its targeting processes are the business of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.


"The UK, along with other allies, is providing a range of equipment to Ukraine to help it counter Russia's illegal and unprovoked aggression."

It follows German leader Scholz saying on Monday that Berlin could not emulate Britain and France in sending long-range weapons to Ukraine and supporting the weapon system's deployment.

He has repeatedly refused to provide German Taurus missiles, fearing they could be used to hit targets deep within Russia.

"This is a very long-range weapon, and what the British and French are doing in terms of targeting and supporting targeting cannot be done in Germany," Scholz said.

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Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, widely believed to have been the true winner of the Belarusian presidency in a rigged 2020 election, said Ukraine’s struggle is shared by Belarus.

"In my view, it would be unjustifiable if we were to participate in targeting in the same way," he added, without specifying what he meant by that.

In its statement, the UK MoD said Ukraine's use of the long-range weapons sent has been "fundamental in its defence of its territory".

It has "changed the strategic picture by successfully putting pressure on Russian forces and their logistics and supply routes," it added.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman on Tuesday told reporters that the UK has "a small number of personnel in country supporting the armed forces of Ukraine, including for medical training".


But the MoD declined to provide further details, while noting Britain continued to train Ukrainian forces as part of a scheme which has schooled more than 35,000 such personnel in the UK since June 2022.

"There are no plans for UK troops to fight alongside the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but we remain actively engaged with allies and partners on how best to support Ukraine," the ministry added.

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