The Western response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to evolve this week with a series of new developments which may pose new tactical, operational, and strategic consequences.
On Thursday, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced that the UK would supply Ukraine with long-range Storm Shadow missiles to better equip its forces against Russia. The decision was made following repeated requests by Kyiv for more Western arms and munitions.
Meanwhile, several reports have emerged from the international press that NATO is drafting a new strategy to deal with Russia, with some commentators calling it “the biggest reconfiguration since the Cold War.”
Ukraine to receive British Storm Shadow Missiles
Since much of the fighting between Ukraine and Russia has developed into a grinding war of attrition, there exists a constant need for armaments and munitions on both sides. Ukraine is largely dependent on the West for this in the form of continual aid from countries like the US, UK, and Germany.
The UK is the second largest donor of military assistance to Ukraine and according to Parliament has committed £4.6 billion thus far. As part of that continued effort, the UK has pledged to provide Ukraine with long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
The Storm Shadow cruise missiles have a range of over 250km (155 miles) and are fired from aircraft. They will give Ukrainian pilots the capability to attack targets from further away.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that the missiles will “allow Ukraine to push back Russian forces based on Ukrainian sovereign territory”.
The weather forecast is predicting a cyclone moving from the UK towards Ukraine, bringing with it Storms.
It is through the Shadow of the Storm that the sunshine of our liberty will break through and shed light on our Victory.
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) May 11, 2023
NATO drafting new strategy to confront Russia
The new strategy is expected to be approved in an upcoming summit scheduled to take place in Vilnius in July. About 4,000 words of a strategic planning document have already been drafted.
Details about the new strategy are still fairly scant, although it is known that it will address the domains of land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. More specifically, it has been reported that NATO will focus more on the deployment of smaller battalion-sized formations rather than larger military groups, although this remains to be confirmed.
Will Ukraine conduct a counteroffensive against Russia?
For months there has been growing anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces. However, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky stated this week that his country would need more time to prepare for the counteroffensive.
“With [what we already have] we can go forward, and, I think, be successful,” Zelensky said, “But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So we need to wait. We still need a bit more time.”
Zelensky cited the need for more military assets like armored vehicles before Ukraine would be in a strong position to conduct a counterattack.