UK aims to source long-range missile for Ukrainian army
The UK-led International Fund for Ukraine looks to crowd funds for long-range missile systems for the Ukrainian army.
Total UK-military aid to Kiev has amounted to £2.3 billion since the start of the Ukrainian Crisis, which makes Britain the second largest supporter of Zelensky's regime after the US.
London has announced that it intends to acquire long-range missiles to be sent to Kiev through a UK-led 'International Fund for Ukraine (IFU)', a document published on the publicly available government website reads.
IFU is chaired by the UK Ministry of Defense and includes a panel comprised of the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden. So far, it has obtained over £520 million in aid to Ukraine, after Iceland and Lithuania also contributed to the fund.
The bidding for the long-range missiles ends on May 4 and lists missiles or rockets with a range of 100km to 300km that could be launched from land, sea, or air, with an explosive payload of 20kg to 490kg as "essential requirements".
The panel also calls for multiple high-tech specifications including Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) and mission planning capabilities.
Britain sent Kiev multiple M270, Multiple Rocket Launch System (MLRS), which boast a range of 90kms, earlier this year.
Russia has hit back on the further armament of the Ukrainian side with long-range missile systems, as missiles with a wider target range can put new Russian positions under threat.
“One circumstance should be clear to everyone: the more long-range Western systems will be delivered to Ukraine, the further we will be forced to move the threat away from our borders,” Russian President Vladimir Putin underlined during an address to the Federal Assembly earlier this year.
The recent Pentagon leaks show that the Ukrainian armed forces are critically short on anti-air defense ammunition specifically that of the soviet produced S-300 soviet produced systems as well as shortages in artillery shells.
Artillery ammunition is being used up by Ukraine's units at a breakneck rate, estimated at 7,700 shells every day, or about one shell every six seconds. This means that Kiev is outpacing Western production capacities and has forced Kiev to ration artillery usage on the battlefield.
The UK-led fund comes at a critical period, that might be able to prolong the survival of Ukraine for the foreseeable future.
Increased Western armament to Zelensky's indebted government, which is raking in $5 million in monthly budget deficits, only prolonged the crisis and furthers a possible peace deal between the two sides.