The UK’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, has stated publicly that Westminster would support the Ukrainian government in using British supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russian Territory.
Speaking to Times Radio, Heappey said it was “completely legitimate” for Ukraine to launch attacks inside Russia, and that it was “not necessarily a problem” if Kiev used weapons supplied by the UK in order to do so.
In a bid to rationalise his statement, Heappey pointed to the fact that many states use military hardware imported from other nations, adding that “when those bits of kit are used we tend not to blame (the country) that manufactured it, you blame the country that fired it”.
Following a meeting between UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, on April 23rd, Westminster has committed to “providing more defensive military aid, including protected mobility vehicles, drones and anti-tank weapons,” according to a readout of the call published by Johnson’s office.
The UK has thus far provided Ukraine with 4000 NLAW anti-tank missiles, a number of Javelin missiles, along with SAS deployments who have provided support and training to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov battalion, both now and well before Russia’s invasion.
Heappey’s comments have been deemed inflammatory by the Kremlin, who have warned NATO member states against providing weaponry to Ukraine, claiming it could lead to a greater global conflict.
A statement from the Russian Defence Ministry further warned, that should attacks as suggested by Heappey materialise, that “the Russian armed forces are ready round the clock to carry out retaliatory strikes with long-range smart weapons against decision-making centers in Kiev”. They also added that the presence of Western political and military personnel at such targets “will not necessarily constitute a problem for Russia in making a decision to retaliate”.