The United Kingdom will give multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Ukraine to help the country defend itself against Russian aggression, the U.K Defense Secretary has announced. The cutting-edge American-made M270 weapon system, which can strike targets up to 80 km (50 miles) away with pinpoint accuracy, will offer a significant boost in capability for the Ukrainian forces. The UK’s decision has been coordinated closely with the US decision to gift the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) variant of MLRS, the Secretary announced. Alongside the MRL systems, the UK will also supply M31A1 munitions on a large scale. Britain said Ukrainian troops would be trained on how to use the new launchers in Britain after it previously announced that it would train Ukrainian personnel to use armored vehicles.
U.S. President Joe Biden last week said Washington would supply Ukraine with M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, after he received assurances from Kyiv that they would not be used to hit targets inside Russian territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the arms shipments were “nothing new” but warned that there would be a response if the United States supplied longer-range munitions for the HIMARS systems. The U.S. Department of Defense said it was supplying Ukraine with four M142 HIMARS systems along with the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System that it said had a range of over 40 miles (64 km).
The UK was the first European country to supply lethal aid to Ukraine, and has since provided thousands of anti-tank missiles, anti-air systems, and armored vehicles to Ukrainian forces. Britain has also taken a leading role in coordinating international donations of military aid, with Defense Secretary Ben Wallace hosting two international donor conferences to coordinate support from 35 partner nations, while RAF aircraft have moved thousands of tons of military assistance from donors around the world to Ukraine.
“We cannot stand by while Russian long-range artillery flattens cities and kills innocent civilians. The U.K will gift the Ukrainian Armed Forces multiple-launch rocket systems so they can effectively repel the continuing Russian onslaught.” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson following the announcement.