Russia says long-range Storm Shadow missiles hit a polymer factory and a meat processing plant.
The Russian Defense Ministry has said Ukrainian aircraft hit two industrial sites in the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles supplied by the United Kingdom.
The UK on Thursday was the first country to say it had begun supplying Kiev with long-range cruise missiles that could allow it to hit Russian troops and supply dumps far behind the front lines as it prepares a major counter-offensive.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the missiles could be used on Ukrainian territory, implying he had received assurances from Kiev that they would not be used to strike targets within Russia’s internationally accepted borders.
The Russian ministry said on Saturday that the missiles hit a polymer production plant and a meat processing plant in Luhansk on Friday.
“Storm Shadow air-to-air missiles supplied by Britain to the Kiev regime were used for the attack, contrary to London’s statements that these weapons would not be used against civilian targets,” the ministry said.
It also said Russia had downed two Ukrainian fighter jets — a Su-24 and a MiG-29 — that had launched the missiles.
In its latest bulletin, the ministry also said Russian forces had taken control of another bloc in the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Moscow has been trying to capture for more than 10 months in an exhausting artillery battle.
“The units of the Airborne Forces provided support to the attack units and pressed the enemy on the flanks,” it read.
The ministry often uses the term “assault units” to denote Wagner’s private militia, which led the assault on Bakhmut with high casualty losses.
EU calls for long-range weapons for Ukraine
Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Saturday called on European countries to supply long-range weapons to Ukraine to help it counter Russian attacks, while generally accelerating arms deliveries.
“The Russians are bombing from far away, so the Ukrainians must have the capacity to reach … the same distance, the same range,” Borrell said after a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Stockholm.
“But we need to speed up,” 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 the German effort and invite all member states to follow suit,” Borrell said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Western allies to provide more advanced weapons in anticipation of a widely expected counter-offensive against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
Zelenskyy is also trying to speed up the process of formal EU membership negotiations for Ukraine in the aftermath of the Russian invasion, which started in February 2022.