Russia says long-range Storm Shadow missiles hit a polymer production plant and a meat processing plant.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian aircraft bombed two industrial sites in the Russian-controlled city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine with UK-supplied Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles.
On Thursday, the United Kingdom became the first country to say it has begun supplying long-range cruise missiles to Kiev, which would allow it to strike Russian forces and supply depots away from the front lines as it prepares for a major counterattack.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the missiles could be used inside Ukrainian territory, meaning he had received assurances from Kiev that they would not be used to attack targets within Russia’s internationally accepted borders.
The Russian ministry said on Saturday that missiles hit a polymer production plant and a meat processing plant in Luhansk on Friday.
The ministry said that “Storm Shadow air-to-air missiles provided by Britain to the Kiev regime were used in the strike, contrary to London’s statements that these weapons will not be used against civilian targets.”
It also said that Russia had shot down two Ukrainian warplanes – the Su-24 and MiG-29 – that fired the missiles.
The ministry also said in its latest bulletin that Russian forces had taken control of another area in the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Moscow has been trying to control for more than ten months in a battle of attrition with artillery.
“Units of the Airborne Forces provided support to the offensive units and caught up with the enemy on the flanks,” it added.
The Ministry often uses the term “assault units” to refer to Wagner’s private militia, which was leading the assault on Bakhmut at heavy cost in casualties.
The European Union advocates long-range weapons for Ukraine
Meanwhile, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, on Saturday called on European countries to provide Ukraine with long-range weapons to help it counter Russian attacks, while accelerating arms deliveries in general.
“The Russians are bombing from far away, so the Ukrainians have to reach…the same distance, the same range,” Borrell said after a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Stockholm.
“But we have to hurry,” he said, as Germany announced a new weapons package for Ukraine worth 2.7 billion euros ($2.95 billion), including tanks, armored vehicles and air defense systems.
“I welcome Germany’s efforts and call on all member states to follow this example,” Borrell said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Western allies to provide more advanced weaponry before launching a widely expected counter-offensive against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
Zelensky is also seeking to speed up the process of formal talks on EU membership for Ukraine in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion, which began in February 2022.