The British government said on Monday that the multiple launch rocket systems it is offering to Ukraine will provide “a significant increase in capability” to the country’s efforts to resist the Russian invasion.
“If the international community continues to provide support, I believe Ukraine can win” its war against Russia, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.
The statement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments on Sunday, which warned the West against sending longer-range rocket systems into Ukraine.
The British government has described the M270 weapons system as a “cutting edge” military asset that can hit targets up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) away “with pinpoint accuracy”. The UK pledged last week to send the weapons. He gave no details on delivery dates.
Last week, the United States announced its intention to provide $700 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including four precision-guided medium-range rocket systems, as well as helicopters, Javelin anti-tanks, radars, tactical vehicles and more.
Washington and London hope the deliveries will help Ukraine turn the tide of the war in its eastern region of Donbass, which Russia appears intent on capturing entirely.
However, they are unlikely to have an immediate impact. The Pentagon said last week that it would take at least three weeks to bring US weapons to the battlefield. Russian-backed separatists have been fighting the Ukrainian government since 2014 in Donbass.
The United States has stopped offering Ukraine longer-range weapons that could fire deep into Russia and stoke tensions with Moscow.
Russia’s use of missiles in Ukraine, meanwhile, continued to hit targets, with the Russian military saying on Monday it struck a Ukrainian factory that repairs armor.
Russian fighter jets fired long-range missiles to destroy a factory on the outskirts of the town of Lozova, in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, which repaired armored vehicles, the spokesman for the Russian ministry of security said. Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov.
Russian planes hit 73 areas of concentration of Ukrainian troops and equipment, while Russian artillery hit 431 military targets, Konashenkov said. His claims could not be independently verified.
Putin has vowed to strike deeper into the heart of Ukraine if the West sends longer-range missile systems to Kyiv. In a show of force, Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on Sunday.
The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces fired five X-22 cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea towards Kyiv, and one was destroyed by air defenses. Four other missiles hit “infrastructure facilities”, but Ukraine said there were no casualties.
Prior to Sunday’s early morning attack, Kyiv had not faced such Russian airstrikes since the April 28 visit of UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday visited command posts and frontline positions of Ukrainian troops in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which make up Donbass.
Ukraine’s struggle on the 103rd day of war was felt by D-Day veterans who gathered in northern France on Monday.
American D-Day veteran Charles Shay, 97, was at Omaha Beach in Normandy in the morning to mark the 78th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 landings and pay tribute to those who fell that day.
Asked about his feelings about the war being waged on the European continent, Shay told The Associated Press that “it’s a very sad situation.”
“In 1944, I landed on these beaches and we thought we were bringing peace to the world. But that is not possible,” he added regretfully.
A Ukrainian regional governor said on Monday that the situation in a key eastern city had worsened for defending troops.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said on Monday heavy fighting continued in the town of Sievierodonetsk, which is at the epicenter of the Russian offensive.
He described the combat situation as “quite dynamic”, adding that Ukrainian forces had lost some of the gains they had made over the weekend but maintained their positions in the city’s industrial zone.
The Russians continued their heavy shelling of nearby Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, Haidai said.
Russian forces focused on capturing Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.
To the west of these towns, in the cities of Sloviansk and Bakhmut, cars and military vehicles rushed towards the city from the front line. Dozens of military doctors and paramedics worked on Sunday to evacuate Ukrainian civilians and servicemen, many of whom had been injured by artillery fire.
Western military intelligence reports indicate that Ukrainian counterattacks in Sieverodonetsk are likely dampening the operational momentum that Russian forces had previously gained by concentrating their combat units and firepower in the area.
On Monday, Serbia confirmed that a planned visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Balkan country will not take place after reports that Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro refused to allow his aircraft to fly over its airspace to reach Serbia.
Associated Press reporters David Keyton and Hanna Arhirova in Kyiv contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine