Starmer signals Ukraine can use UK missiles to strike Russia


A local resident, Vira Sokolova, 39, throws away damaged items from her apartment in an apartment building destroyed by a rocket attack the day before, in Kyiv, on July 9, 2024, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. [AFP]

Britain's Prime Minister Keir Starmer indicated on Wednesday that Ukraine can use long-range missiles supplied by the UK to strike military targets in Russia during their war.

Starmer told reporters on his flight to Washington for NATO's 75th-anniversary summit that decisions on the use of British-supplied Storm Shadow missiles were for the Ukrainian armed forces.

UK military aid is "for defensive purposes but it is for Ukraine to decide how to deploy it for those defensive purposes", said Starmer, who became UK leader last Friday following a landslide election win for his Labour party.

The comments confirm that Labour is pursuing the same stance on air-launched missiles as the previous Conservative governments led by Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and earlier Boris Johnson.

Britain has been one of Kyiv's staunchest allies since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February 2022.

The UK has provided money, weapons and troop training to Ukraine's fight.

Britain was the first country to provide longer-range weapons to the Ukrainian military, announcing last May that it would send Storm Shadow missiles.

Starmer was due to reaffirm Britain's support for Ukraine and its "unshakeable commitment" to the western military alliance NATO during the summit, where he is due to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.