UK should give Ukraine long-range arms to bring end to war, says Boris Johnson

Despite calls from the former PM, Downing Street is not planning to provide long-range missiles to Kyiv

Soldiers practise firing Javelin missiles during training. PA
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Former Conservative prime minister Boris Johnson has called for greater western assistance to Ukraine, including the UK supplying Kyiv with long-range missiles to “bring the war to an end”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he constantly reviews the “weapon systems we could provide” and is “open-minded to seeing what we do next” should Russia continue to attack civilian areas and break the Geneva Conventions.

However, Downing Street indicated the UK is not planning to provide long-range missiles to Ukraine.

“You will know that the military equipment that we provide to Ukraine is for use in Ukraine to enable it to defend itself against the illegal invasion,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman.

“I’m not aware of any plans to alter that approach but obviously we keep these things under review.”

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Speaking in the House of Commons during defence questions, Mr Johnson said: “The House will know that supplies of British, American and other western equipment have been absolutely vital in helping our Ukrainian friends to protect themselves against continuing and merciless Russian attacks, and I thank him and the government for all that they have done and continue to do.

“Does he agree with me that we and our allies must help our Ukrainian friends not just to take out the drones and missiles, and that means supplying them with anti-aircraft systems and fixed-wing aircraft to help shoot them down, but also to take out the launch sites of those missiles and drones by supplying the Ukrainians with the use of longer-range missile systems such as ATACMS [Army Tactical Missile System] because that is the way truly to protect our Ukrainian friends and to bring the war to an end as soon as possible?”

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Mr Wallace paid tribute to Mr Johnson, saying: “Without my right honourable friend’s support to me and Ukraine, none of this would have been possible and I want to place on record my great appreciation for his support through that process.

“He’s absolutely right that the Russians are taking advantage of the short-range capability of the Ukrainian armed forces by using these Iranian kamikaze drones.”

The mass targeting of civilian critical infrastructure is not only a war crime, but is a war crime that must not go unpunished, he added.

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“I constantly review the weapon systems we could provide. I hear his call on ATACMS from the United States,” said Mr Wallace.

“We, too, have in our armoury potential weapon systems that are longer and, should the Russians continue to target civilian areas and try and break those Geneva Conventions, then I will be open-minded to seeing what we do next.”

Updated: December 12, 2022, 11:11 PM