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UK to supply Ukraine with air defense missiles

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Britain said it would supply Ukraine with air defense missiles to defend itself against Russian assaults and will for the first time provide rockets capable of shooting down cruise missiles.

The announcement comes after Western allies on Wednesday vowed to rapidly deliver new air defenses to Ukraine to bolster protection against Russian aerial attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a barrage across Ukraine on Monday following a blast at a bridge to the annexed Crimea peninsula.

“The AMRAAM rockets… will be provided in the coming weeks for use with the NASAMS air defence systems pledged by the US,” the British defense ministry said in a statement.

“The rockets will help to protect Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure,” it said.

Britain said it would also send hundreds of drones to support Ukraine’s intelligence services as well as 18 howitzer artillery guns, in addition to 64 already delivered.

“These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense alongside the US NASAMS,” British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky had on Tuesday called on the G7 club of wealthy nations including Britain to help Kyiv create an “air shield.”

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the “top priority” of Ukraine’s Western backers was to provide Kyiv with more air defenses to protect against Russia’s “indiscriminate” attacks.

Defense ministers from the Western military alliance are meeting on Thursday in Brussels.

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