Ukraine Prepared to Strike Crimea With British Missiles

The UK is in discussions with Ukraine on providing longer-range missiles

Ukraine is in discussions with the UK about receiving longer-range missiles and is prepared to use them against Crimea, which would mark another major escalation of Western involvement in the war, The Times of London reported Thursday.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised more aid for Kyiv when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited London on Wednesday. The Times report said that discussions are now underway on whether future aid should include Harpoon anti-ship missiles or air-launched Storm Shadow missiles.

Ukrainian sources told The Times that they would plan to use these missiles to hit Crimea, strikes that would seriously risk provoking Moscow. But both the US and Britain are less concerned about escalating the war.

Ukraine has already received some Harpoon missiles from Denmark and launchers from the US. The anti-ship missiles have a range of about 70 miles, although other variants can hit targets over 100 miles away. The Harpoons have a longer range than artillery missiles the US has sent, but the Harpoons are designed for coastal defense.

It’s not clear if Ukraine could use Harpoons in its ground battle against Russia with the current launchers, but Ukrainian officials claimed they used them to sink a Russian military tug boat last June. The Times report said the Harpoons would be less accurate if they were used on the ground.

The Storm Shadow missiles could hit targets at a range between about 150 miles and 350 miles, depending on the variant. They are typically fired from aircraft, and the UK is also considering providing Kyiv with fighter jets and plans on training Ukrainian pilots starting this spring.

Moscow would view the provision of jets and longer-range missiles as a major provocation, and Russian officials have been warning strongly against the move. Recent reporting suggests the US and its allies are no longer concerned with the risk of Russian President Vladimir Putin using a nuclear weapon in response to attacks on Crimea based only on the fact that he hasn’t used one up to this point.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.