Is the West's more offensive support of Ukraine a sign of 'mission creep'?

Watch: Is the West's delivery of more weapons to Ukraine 'mission creep'?

More than a year on from Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the West's support of Kyiv not only continues but has become progressively more offensive.

Nato allies started off by providing defensive weapons to Ukraine, but are now supplying longer-range systems and tanks.

This begs the question, is the West's support of Ukraine a sign of 'mission creep'?

Defined as "a gradual shift in objectives during the course of a military campaign, often resulting in an unplanned long-term commitment", you could argue 'mission creep' is precisely what Nato allies face in their support of Ukraine.

But General (Ret'd) Sir Richard Barrons, Former Commander, Joint Forces Command, told Forces News the term is not "appropriate in this case".

"What we are seeing is a deepening commitment of the West to make sure that Ukraine survives this war with its territory intact and there's a really, really long way to go," he said.

Watch: Is Nato's support for Ukraine getting more offensive as Russian retaliation fears shrink?

"What has changed is the thinking about what capability should be provided to Ukraine in order for it to succeed."

This has changed over the course of the conflict, with Javelin and N-Law weapon systems being provided at the beginning as "defensive weapons".

"Now that has extended to deep precision fires, which is what the Himars provides – which was absolutely pivotal to breaking up how Russia likes to fight its battles," Gen Sir Richard said.

"Now we're moving into the provision of armoured vehicles, particularly fairly modern tanks, to give Ukraine the capability to stop the Russian offensive, which is under way now, and to be able to go on the offensive later in the year and take back territory – as much as it is capable."

But this does not necessarily mean the West risks escalating the conflict.

In January, William Courtney, a former special assistant to the president for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the non-profit RAND Corporation, told Forces News there was concern at the beginning of the conflict Russia might "use nuclear weapons".

But he said opposition both internally and from "Xi Jinping from China and Narendra Modi from India" led to Russia backing "away from nuclear threats".

Watch: Drones being used to spread propaganda via text messages in Ukraine.

"That built more confidence in the West that Western countries could escalate their support for Ukraine without Russia reacting by firing a nuclear weapon."

Gen Sir Richard said the provision of fighter jets is currently ruled out as it is "the sort of capability that it would be very easy to construe being used striking into Russia".

"That will fail the escalation test," he explained.

The retired general explained that the US is now providing weapons systems with a range of up to 90km, naming the US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).

But Gen Sir Richard said it is not about the "weapon system, it's about the rules that go with the weapons system".

"If you provide something like ATACMS, it would be on the understanding that it is not fired into Russia, and the day it is fired into Russia then the supply stops," he said.

"Ukraine knows, and we all know, that Ukraine loses this war if it is not connected to Western industry."

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