Kremlin vows response if UK allows Kyiv to strike Russia with missiles

Kremlin vows response if UK allows Kyiv to strike Russia with missiles Kremlin vows response if UK allows Kyiv to strike Russia with missiles
  • Storm Shadow missiles have so far been used to strike Russian-occupied areas

Moscow issued a warning to new Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer today as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there would be a response if the UK allowed Ukraine to strike Russia with British weapons.

The comments came after Sir Keir told reporters yesterday en route to Washington for NATO's 75th-anniversary summit that decisions on the use of UK-supplied long-range Storm Shadow missiles were for the Ukrainian armed forces to make.

Storm Shadow missiles, accurate to beyond 150 miles, have already been used by Ukraine to hit targets in Russian-occupied territory to great effect.

But Sir Keir said yesterday that UK military aid was 'for defensive purposes but it is for Ukraine to decide how to deploy it for those defensive purposes', indicating that Kyiv could now use the missiles to strike targets on Russian soil in the face of ongoing attacks.

Peskov said such a move would be an 'absolutely irresponsible step towards escalating tensions', adding the Kremlin would 'carefully record all of this and of course take appropriate measures'.

MailOnline has contacted the MoD for comment.

The thinly veiled threat from Vladimir Putin's spokesman came as Britain'sarmed forces minister said the Government will aim to complete its strategic defence review in less than a year, amid warnings from former military chiefs that Britain is unprepared for the threat of war.

Luke Pollard said Britain's armed forces had faced 14 years of 'hollowing out and underfunding' under the Conservatives, leading to 'reduced capabilities'.

Pollard went on to insist the new Labour administration would work 'at pace' to finish the major assessment, which Sir Keir has said needs to take place before decisions are made on raising defence spending to 2.5% of GDP - a target to which the PM has made a 'cast-iron commitment'.

Appearing on Wednesday's morning broadcast round, Pollard said the Labour manifesto set out a timescale of a year and the Government wants to deliver the review 'faster than that because of the urgency of the situations we're facing'.

'The Prime Minister's been very clear, he wants this review delivered at pace,' he told Times Radio.

He said he had been 'reassured' by speaking to military officers that 'we have the ability to defend Britain' but told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'What we want to do is to make sure that we're filling the gaps to deter any future aggression and defeat it if necessary.

The review will be 'NATO-first' and focus on 'our unshakeable commitment to the North Atlantic, to the Europe area, to make sure that we're keeping not only the UK safe but keeping our allies safe,' he said.

The minister denied accusations that Labour had not done 'any homework' to determine which areas were most in need of funding before entering power.

On being told the party had 'not looked at what needed to be spent where' during an appearance on Sky News, he said: 'That's not true... You'll know that in opposition you don't get access to the classified briefings, the intelligence that would be required to set out what shape and size our armed forces should be.'

Sir Keir is facing pressure from opposition critics and former military chiefs over the timescale of decision-making on funding, with some arguing it cannot wait given the gravity of threats facing Britain.

Admiral Lord West, a former head of the Navy who was a security minister under a previous Labour government, claimed the new administration was 'delaying spending money' by not setting out a plan, which meant 'there is no money' for the Ministry of Defence.

The Tories, who said they would increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030 before losing the election, said the approach was 'damaging for the armed forces'.

Kicking off the three-day NATO 75th anniversary summit yesterday,US President Joe Biden announced a new air defence system for Kyiv and urged unity against Vladimir Putin, who launched the Ukraine invasion in 2022.

Biden promised to send Kyiv an additional Patriot system, on top of two new systems being given by Germany and Romania and one which the Netherlands has said it is putting together with parts from other allies.

Underscoring Ukraine's desperate need for such systems, Russia fired a barrage of missiles on the eve of the summit that killed dozens of people across the country, including in Kyiv where a children's hospital was reduced to debris.

'Make no mistake. Ukraine can - and will - stop Putin,' Biden said forcefully to applause.

But the US president himself is facing a tough election challenge from Donald Trump, who has loudly questioned the utility of NATO and previously said he would be able to 'end the war in 24 hours' if he were in charge.

The comments sparked fears that Washington would quickly withdraw its military support for Ukraine and seek to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to accept a peace deal that would see large swathes of territory ceded to Moscow.

Earlier this year, Trump's Republican allies in the US Congress also forced a delay of months in approving new weapons for Ukraine.

The notion is not lost on NATO leaders, with outgoing Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledging the question marks over ongoing US support.

'Ukraine has shown remarkable courage and NATO allies have provided unprecedented support. But let's be honest - not even our support for Ukraine has been a given,' Stoltenberg said.

'Remember - the biggest cost and the greatest risk will be if Russia wins in Ukraine. We cannot let that happen.'

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