Keir Starmer has said Ukraine can use UK-donated weapons as it sees fit, according to Bloomberg

Remarks by UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer about Ukraine having a free hand in using donated British weapons against Russia are irresponsible and escalatory, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday.

The Labour leader was confirmed last week as the new head of the British government following his party’s election win. He has already embraced the policy of his Conservative predecessor, Rishi Sunak, on arms supplies to Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Asked by the news agency about long-range Storm Shadow missiles in the Ukrainian arsenal, Starmer said “it is for Ukraine to decide how to deploy [them].” The missiles must “obviously to be used in accordance with international humanitarian law as you would expect,” he added, speaking on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington DC.

Responding to Starmer’s reported comments, Kremlin spokesman Peskov described them as “yet another irresponsible move… an absolutely irresponsible move towards the escalation of tensions.” He vowed that Moscow will “take measures accordingly.”

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Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky attends an event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute  in Washington, DC on July 9, 2024.
Kiev can ‘never’ get enough weapons – Zelensky

Air-launched British Storm Shadow missiles have a range of over 250km. Sunak’s public policy was that the weapons could be used for strikes deep inside Russia, but the Ukrainian government has produced conflicting reports on the matter.

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky claimed in May that London never gave Kiev explicit permission for such strikes, disputing statements to the contrary by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Yuri Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, stated at the time that Kiev had already conducted such strikes.

Moscow’s military has reported stopping multiple attacks involving Storm Shadow missiles on Crimea, a Russian region that Kiev and its backers claim as illegally occupied.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Moscow could retaliate to strikes with Western weapons deep inside Russia by delivering similar systems to the adversaries of countries that supplied them. This could lead to an outcome that no party would be happy about, according to Putin.

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