Ukraine

Ukraine will use Brimstone missiles 'over the ground', Defence Secretary confirms

The Defence Secretary has confirmed that the Brimstone missiles being sent by the UK to Ukraine "will be used over the ground".

Brimstone has been used by the Royal Air Force on aircraft like the Typhoon and can hit targets including ground vehicles and sea vessels, according to manufacturer MBDA.

Ben Wallace told Sky News that in addition to sending the ground variant of Brimstone to Ukraine, Britain is looking to source and supply anti-ship missiles, adding that Russian ships must not be allowed to be "used to bombard cities".

Defence analyst Paul Beaver told Forces News Brimstone missiles can still be "very effective" fired from land.

It follows confirmation by defence minister James Heappey this week that the UK will be providing Brimstone missiles to Ukraine in the coming weeks.

"When the Defence Secretary made his statement to Parliament yesterday he mentioned that we had in 2020 agreed in principle to develop and sell a maritime variant of the Brimstone missile," he said.

"Recently, Ukraine has been asking for longer-range ground attack missiles and the Government has been exploring if stocks of Brimstone could be released for such purposes.

"Such is the speed with which our technicians are now working and so effective is the partnership with industry that I am pleased to say that they have moved that forward and it’s necessary to inform the House that we’ll be providing Brimstone in the next few weeks, probably whilst the House is prorogued ahead of the Queen’s speech."

The Ministry of Defence has said Russian warships remain ready to strike Ukraine from the Black Sea.

In a Thursday morning intelligence update, the department tweeted: "Approximately 20 Russian Navy vessels are currently in the Black Sea operational zone, including submarines.

"The Bosporus Strait remains closed to all non-Turkish warships, rendering Russia unable to replace its lost cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea.

"Despite the embarrassing losses of the landing ship Saratov and cruiser Moskva, Russia's Black Sea Fleet retains the ability to strike Ukrainian and coastal targets".