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Putin’s Biggest Fear: What Happens if Ukraine Gets Long-Range Missiles?

Russia's war in Ukraine
Russian TOS-1

U.K. Signals Willingness to Send Long-Range Missiles to Ukraine: British Minister of Defence Ben Wallace indicated on Monday that the United Kingdom remains “open-minded” about the possibility of sending long-range missiles to Ukraine, potentially fulfilling requests made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Wallace made the comments to the House of Commons on Monday when asked by former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – now a backbench Member of Parliament – whether he would consider the idea.

While prime minister, Johnson was one of the fiercest defenders of Ukraine in the world, leading the way in military aid for the country and visiting Kyiv frequently.

In his question, Johnson suggested that sending long-range weapons would allow Ukraine to destroy drone launch sites on Russian-controlled territory, helping prevent further drone and missile strike campaigns that continue to wreak havoc in Ukrainian cities.

“I constantly review the weapons systems we could provide,” Wallace said, adding that the United Kingdom has a number of weapons systems available that provide a longer-range firing capacity.

“We too have in our armour potential weapons 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 see what we do next,” Wallace said.

Wallace previously committed in November to strengthening Britain’s support for the Ukrainian military.

If the British government does choose to send long-range missiles, it could potentially make other NATO Allies reconsider their current positions.

Johnson’s questions follow an open letter penned for the Wall Street Journal last week. In the piece, Johnson called on Western countries to send long-range missiles to Ukraine to bring the war to an end quickly.

“The world can’t continue to watch as the Ukrainians are terrorised with missiles and drones,” the former prime minister wrote.

“The Ukrainians have the valour necessary to succeed. They have shown it. They just need the equipment,” he added.

Could It End the War in Ukraine?

Previously, long-range missiles have been denied to Ukraine over concerns of Western countries being blamed for possible future strikes on Russian soil.

Following a series of Ukrainian strikes on Russian soil in recent weeks using Soviet-era equipment, however, a case could now be made for sending long-range missiles from the West.

If Ukraine can already strike Russian territory, then can the West really be held accountable for future strikes using NATO equipment?

That will be a question the Kremlin needs to answer, but it’s also true that the Kremlin barely has the military capacity to take on Ukraine, let alone the West.

Long-range missiles could help Ukraine push Russian forces further out of previously annexed territories in Ukraine, but that doesn’t change the fact that hundreds of thousands of Russian reservists are currently being trained and deployed and that the Kremlin seems intent on pushing ahead even in the face of major losses.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.