Italy mulls sending long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine
06/21/2024 // Richard Brown // Views

Italy is considering sending long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine, further escalating tensions in an already volatile war.

According to a June 18 report by the Italian daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, the missiles will be part of Rome's ninth arms package to Kyiv. The outlet cited sources within the Italian Ministry of Defense.

The arms package will be presented by Defense Minister Guido Crosetto to the Italian Parliament's Committee for the Security of the Republic for approval by the end of the month. It is set to be finalized before the NATO summit in Washington starting on July 9. This transfer would mark a more aggressive stance by Rome on the Ukraine conflict. (Related: Putin threatens to station missiles close to the U.K. after Brits supplied Ukraine with long-range missiles.)

The Storm Shadow cruise missile has a range of up to 560 kilometers (348 miles) and can potentially hit targets far within Russia. It is known as SCALP-EG in France, an abbreviation of its French name. Aside from the Storm Shadow, Italy's ninth arms package for Ukraine also includes the SAMP/T air defense system, artillery and Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

While Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has supported Kyiv, her government previously hesitated to allow Ukrainian use of Italian weapons for deep strikes in Russia. Both Crosetto and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani emphasized last month that using Italian-supplied weapons on Russian soil was prohibited by Italy's constitution. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini also warned that Rome would halt military support to Kyiv if assurances weren't given that the weapons would not be used inside Russia.

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While the list of Italian weapons sent to Ukraine remains classified, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps revealed in May that Italy had been supplying Storm Shadows alongside the U.K. and France, especially for use in Crimea. Yuri Sak, an advisor to Ukrainian Strategic Industries Minister Oleksandr Kamyshin, also confirmed that London and Paris have supplied Kyiv with Storm Shadow missiles. He added that some of these missiles have been used to strike deeper into Russian territory.

Storm Shadow missiles touted as game-changers, but will they make a difference?

Recently, Ukrainian leadership has increased pressure on NATO countries to provide more critical weapons and allow their use against Russian targets.

Some North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states, including the U.K., Poland, and Latvia, support Ukrainian strikes within Russia. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and U.S. President Joe Biden have also stated that Ukraine is permitted to target Russian positions near the front lines. In response, Russian Pesident Vladimir Putin warned earlier this month that Moscow might consider arming adversaries of Western nations that supply Ukraine with the means to strike Russian soil.

Ukraine was expected to use the limited supply of Storm Shadows against key Russian military assets in occupied areas. In turn, Kyiv has modified its Soviet-era Su-24 jet fighters to launch these missiles, allowing for safer, more precise strikes.

Ben Barry of the International Institute for Strategic Studies noted that the missile's range and capability to penetrate hardened structures will force Russia to reassess the protection of its logistics, command centers, and equipment behind the frontline. This could lead to repositioning Russian air defenses, he added.

Security expert J. Andres Gannon of the Council of Foreign Relations noted that Russia may need to devote more resources to protecting its hubs or pull them further back, slowing their operations. The Storm Shadow, despite being fewer in number, could further disrupt Russian operations.

However, there are political constraints. Ukraine has agreed not to use these missiles against targets inside Russia to avoid escalating the conflict.

Watch Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya explaining how the West is directing Ukraine's use of long-range weapons.

This video is from The Prisoner channel on

More related stories:

Ukrainian official says British long-range missiles are already being used to strike Russia.

U.S. quietly sent Ukraine long-range missiles following a secret directive from Biden.

Could Russia deploy ballistic missiles in Mexico?

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