The Storm Shadow missiles pledged by the UK have been used by British and French forces in the Gulf, Iraq and Libya and can be operated in extreme conditions.
“The donation of these weapons systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend themselves against Russia’s continued brutality,” UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.
His Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov said last month that Kyiv’s preparations were “coming to an end” and his forces were ready “in a global sense”.
But he also said that Abrams tanks promised by the United States would not be able to take part in the offensive because they would not arrive in Ukraine until the end of this year.
Ukraine has, however, received hundreds of other tanks, aircraft, munitions and other arms from its Western allies.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion, Kyiv has received more than US$150 billion in aid, including US$65 billion in military assistance, according to a count by the German defence ministry.
Ukraine is counting on the success of its planned counter-offensive, as that could determine how much aid the West will be willing to donate in the future.
COUNTER-ATTACKS IN BAKHMUT
Some voices are calling for peace talks with Russia, but in the BBC interview Zelenskyy rejected the possibility of land concessions.
“Why should any country of the world give (Russian President Vladimir) Putin its territory?” he said.
Russia was “counting on” a “frozen conflict”, he warned.
But Western sanctions are having an effect on Russia’s defence industry, he stressed. “We already see that they’ve reduced shelling per day in some areas.”
A senior Ukrainian military official said earlier this week that Russian forces had dropped back from some areas near Bakhmut after limited counter-attacks by Kyiv’s forces around the eastern city.
Prigozhin, whose forces are on the front line of the battle for Bakhmut, acknowledged that some Ukrainian units were successfully breaking through in some areas.
“The Ukrainian army’s plan is in action… All the units which have been trained, which have received weapons, tanks and everything they need are already fully engaged,” he said.
Russia’s defence ministry, however, refuted Prigozhin’s claims late Thursday, saying reports of breakthroughs around Bakhmut “do not correspond to reality”.
Prigozhin is involved in a long-running dispute with Russian military chiefs over ammunition supplies for his fighters, whom he has threatened to pull out of Bakhmut.