Sir Keir Starmer, the UK’s new prime minister, said his government’s stance towards Ukraine remains unchanged from its predecessor while traveling to the NATO summit late on Tuesday, July 9. This includes the policy on using British long-range weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

Prompted by a Bloomberg reporter on Ukraine’s use of Storm Shadow cruise missiles, Starmer agreed it was up to Ukraine how it used them “for defensive purposes,” as long as it is done “in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

In May, the then UK Foreign Minister David Cameron made similar statements during his visit to Kyiv without specifically mentioning the use of Storm Shadow or other British weapons against targets in Russia.

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“Ukraine has the right to strike inside Russia because Russia is striking inside Ukraine … You can understand why Ukraine feels the need to defend itself,” Cameron said at the time.

The Storm Shadow, which first arrived in Ukraine in May 2023, like its French variant SCALP EG is a subsonic air-launched cruise missile designed to strike pre-planned stationary targets with a range exceeding 250 kilometers. In May, France also approved the use of its long-range weapons to strike targets in Russia.

A Kyiv Post article covered the development and technical capabilities of the missiles in detail.

In July 2023, Russian media claimed a Storm Shadow was used to strike a hotel in occupied Berdyansk in which a high-ranking general was killed. The same month, Russian air defense allegedly shot down a Storm Shadow in Zaporizhzhia in central Ukraine.

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A video published by the Ukrainian Air Force on Facebook implied that a Storm Shadow missile, deployed using a Su-24 tactical bomber, was used in an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol that destroyed the Rostov-on-Don submarine and the Minsk landing ship.

In May this year, several missiles, suspected to be Anglo-French Storm Shadow/SCALP EG cruise missiles, attacked Russian military unit 85683 on Mount Ai-Petri in Crimea.

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