Russia's Donbas invasion will 'play into Ukraine's hands'
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The Stormer launchers can fire out 17 Starstreak missiles to unleash hell on low-flying jets and helicopters. The 13-tonne weapons can be loaded onto C-17 transport planes and flown to the war in days. They only require a crew of three and will allow the Ukrainian army to advance at 50mph, unleash hell, and then quickly manoeuvre away.
They have been hailed as “the best kit” sent by the West to help fend off Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is said to have shown off the Stormer’s capabilities to the Ukraine army earlier this month.
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, said: “The Stormer/Starstreak combination will be a huge boost to Ukraine’s fighting capability.
“It is an extremely effective, highly mobile combat vehicle that will do severe damage to any attempts at low-level attack by Putin’s air force.”
The move marks a significant increase in heavy weaponry supplied by Britain.
So far Western powers have only provided shoulder-mounted weapons.
A source said: “It is no secret that the UK has committed to helping Ukraine with its anti-air capabilities.
“The Defence Secretary (Ben Wallace) will be making a statement to Parliament this week.”
Col Kemp warned: “This news will anger Moscow which is already threatening retaliation against the West — especially Britain — for supplying weapons.
“Unless Putin wishes to initiate a war with Nato he cannot attack weapons supplies before they enter Ukraine.
“However he could carry out cyberattacks, sabotage, assassination or other covert attacks for which his intelligence services have proven capability, including in the UK.”
Meanwhile, r Alan Mendoza, of security think tank the Henry Jackson Society, said the launchers will “leave Russian pilots quaking”.
He added: “The UK is putting Putin on notice that Russian aggression, war crimes, and rocket strikes will no longer be tolerated.
“The UK should wear Putin’s inevitable angry and overblown reaction to this as a badge of pride.”
Mr Johnson will today take part in a call with Western leaders, the EU and Nato.
They will reportedly discuss plans to bolster Ukraine’s defence and hand out more sanctions for Russia.
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It comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the battle for Donbas has begun.
He said in a video address: “Now we can already state that the Russian troops have begun the battle for the Donbas, for which they have been preparing for a long time.
“A significant part of the entire Russian army is now concentrated on this offensive.”
Meanwhile, the deputy prime minister of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that no humanitarian corridors had been opened again today.
She wrote: “Today, 19 April, unfortunately, there are no humanitarian corridors. Intense shelling continues in the Donbas.
“According to Mariupol: the Russians refuse to provide a corridor for civilians in the direction of Berdyansk.
“We continue difficult negotiations on the opening of humanitarian corridors in Kherson and Kharkiv regions.”
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