The Kremlin has blamed Britain’s Storm Shadow missiles for a devastating long-range attack on war-torn Mariupol as Ukraine mounts a response against its Russian occupiers.
The once fiercely defended Ukrainian city, now in the Russian sector of Donetsk, reported two missile strikes on Friday, where a month-long siege early in the war left much of the city in ruins.
Two successive strikes hit the besieged city, one of which reportedly hit the Azovstal steelworks where Ukrainian forces once fought to repel the Russian attack.
The Kremlin state news agency Tass quoted an unnamed official as saying the missiles were long-range Storm Shadows, which Britain delivered to Ukraine this month.
Britain delivered the Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine earlier this month. The long-range missiles mean Ukraine would be able to strike deep into eastern Russian-held territory.
Mariupol, in the Russian sector of Donetsk, reported two missile strikes on Friday
Storm Shadow missiles allow Ukraine to hit Russian troops and logistics centers far behind the front line
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Hiroshima during the G7 summit on May 20, 2023
Two strikes hit the city’s industrial area, said Russian pro-war channel Rybar Telegram with 1.1 million followers.
Ukraine has not yet taken responsibility for the strike, nor said it used the Storm Shadow missiles.
The missiles, jointly developed by the UK and France, have a firing range of over 155 miles (250 km). That would mean kyiv would be able to strike deep into Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine, where the fiercest battles are taking place.
Britain’s supply of the Storm Shadow missiles was announced earlier this month by Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and has been welcomed by Ukraine.
The missiles, which cost around £2.2million, will allow Ukraine to hit Russian troops and logistics centers deep behind the front line in a blow to Vladimir Putin.
Britain had received assurances from the Ukrainian government that these missiles would only be used on Ukrainian sovereign territory and not inside Russia, several senior Western officials said.
Following the strikes, Kremlin-appointed Mariupol leader Oleg Morgun told residents to “stay calm and trust only official sources of information.”
RT claimed Russian air defenses targeted the missiles at the urban scene of the notorious Mariupol siege between February 24 and May 20 last year, when more than 10,000 people are feared dead.
RIA Novosti quoted officials from the pro-Putin People’s Republic of Donetsk as alleging the incoming strikes came from British Storm Shadow missiles.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with officials in the Kremlin on May 26, 2023
Two successive strikes hit the besieged city of Mariupol, one of them reportedly hit the Azovstal steelworks
The once fiercely defended Ukrainian town of Mariupol, now in the Russian-controlled sector of Donetsk, reported two missile strikes on Friday
Another Sea of Azov port – Berdyansk – was hit today for the second day in a row in another suspected long-range missile strike by Ukraine.
The Storm Shadow, also known as SCALP, is an air-to-surface missile that can hit fixed or stationary targets.
Length: 16 feet 9 inches
Range: 350 miles
Both are strategically important as access points for Putin’s forces into Crimea, annexed in 2014.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry official Maria Zakharova has pointed the finger at Britain over incursions by anti-Putin supporters inside Russian territory near Ukraine – and claimed that Moscow could break diplomatic relations with London.
“We do not exclude that the British participated in the planning, organization and support of the terrorist attacks carried out by the Kiev regime on the territory of Russia, including the provision of intelligence information,” he said. she declared.
“As has been repeatedly emphasized, the Russian side reserves the right to take appropriate response measures, where and when they deem it necessary.
“All responsibility for the consequences of London’s destructive activity rests entirely with the perpetrators and perpetrators of these reckless acts.”
Ending diplomatic relations was an “extreme measure which should not be ruled out considering all the factors”, said Zakharova, spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.