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Italy could arm Kiev with long-range weaponry – media

The Storm Shadow cruise missiles being considered for delivery are potentially capable of striking deep inside Russia

Italy is mulling transferring long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Kiev, the news outlet Il Fatto Quotidiano reported on Tuesday, citing sources within the Defense Ministry.

Storm Shadows, or SCALP as the French version of the same weapon is called, have a range of up to 560km and are potentially capable of hitting targets within Russia far beyond the front line.

According to the report, the missiles will be included in the country’s ninth arms package for Ukraine, which Italy’s Defense Minister Guido Crosetto will present to the parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic for approval by the end of the month. The package will also reportedly include the SAMP/T surface-based air defense system, as well as artillery and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. The package is expected to be finalized ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Washington, which kicks off on July 9.

The transfer of long-range weapons to Kiev would indicate a hawkish turn in Rome’s stance toward the Ukraine conflict. While Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has long been a staunch supporter of Kiev, her government previously balked at allowing Ukraine to use its weapons for strikes deep inside Russia. Last month, both Crosetto and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani ruled out the use of Italian-supplied weapons on Russian territory, saying that it was prohibited under the country’s constitution. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini warned earlier this month that Rome would completely stop providing Ukraine with weaponry unless it received assurances that its arms are not used for strikes within Russia.

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The UK and France have already provided dozens of Storm Shadows to Ukraine, some of which have been used to strike targets deeper in Russia, Yuri Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, revealed last month.

The list of Italian weapons supplied to Ukraine has been classified. However, in late May, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps told The Times that Rome had been supplying Kiev with Storm Shadows alongside London and Paris, particularly for use against Crimea.

The Ukrainian leadership has been pressuring NATO countries in recent weeks to supply more critical weapons and allow them to be used against targets in Russia. Several NATO states, such as the UK, Poland and Latvia, have said they have no objections to Ukrainian strikes within Russia. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden have also said Ukraine was allowed to target Russian positions, albeit those close to the front.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Moscow would consider arming the adversaries of Western nations that give Ukraine the means to carry out strikes on Russian soil.

June 18, 2024 at 06:59PM

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