UK MoD says ready to deploy Starstreak missiles in Ukraine
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace says the focus should be on refurbishing Ukraine's military equipment and argues that simply handing over British tanks would not help Kiev.
Ukraine will be using the UK's Starstreak missiles for the first time. These shoulder-mounted missiles are characterized by their ability to travel more than three times the speed of sound, and they are designed to take down aircraft.
The announcement from British Defense Minister Ben Wallace to be giving Ukraine these missiles is to compensate for the fact that London refused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's calls for the UK to supply him with tanks during last week's NATO summit.
"One of the biggest challenges is that the more you go up in sophistication of weapons systems, the more training you require to use them," Wallace said, stressing that London simply providing Kiev with British tanks "wouldn't really work."
Ukraine has been requesting a no-fly zone to be established in its airspace, but the West refused to fulfill these requests, which prompted Zelensky to instead ask for more armament. They complied, and the US and its NATO allies announced that they were sending surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine, including Soviet-era systems, such as the SA-8 and the SA-12 systems.
The systems have a higher engagement altitude than the Stinger shoulder-held missiles the US had sent Kiev.
Kiev had made an admission that establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine as Russia's special military operation in the country continues could potentially lead to a direct war between the Russian Federation and NATO, according to Andriy Yermak, head of Volodymyr Zelensky's office. However, it was still reiterating the plea for the action.
Many parties have joined the Ukrainian side amid pleas from Kiev for help, with 20,000 European mercenaries joining the fight, alongside the 16,000 foreign mercenaries whom Zelensky announced would be fighting in Ukraine, in addition to hundreds of extremists from Syria's Idlib.
As the situation escalates, Poland seems to have become a logistical hub for weapon storage to be shipped to Ukraine and a channel for foreign mercenaries flowing into Ukraine.
Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defense Spokesperson, said that any decision issued by "neighbors" to offer Ukraine the use of their airfields - or a No-Fly Zone - will be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict.