Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at an event

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in front of a live video feed showing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on May 5, 2022 in London. (Photo: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Anti-War Coalition Warns New UK Rockets Will Only 'Prolong the Misery' in Ukraine

The Stop the War Coalition said the British government should be demanding "a ceasefire and the recommencement of peace talks," not arming Ukraine with long-range rockets.

Jake Johnson

An anti-war coalition based in the United Kingdom warned Monday that the British government's decision to follow in the Biden administration's footsteps and supply Ukraine with longer-range rocket systems risks extending—and potentially intensifying—Russia's deadly war.

The move, announced Monday by U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, could usher in "a wider and still worse conflict," said Andrew Murray, deputy president of the Stop the War Coalition.

"Sending in such long-range missiles risks escalating the conflict."

The U.K. "should change course and start pushing for a ceasefire and peace talks," Murray added.

The Guardian reported that "like the U.S., the U.K. has sought assurances from Kyiv that the [rocket systems] would not be used to strike targets within Russia."

The British government's decision was made public just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened that Russian forces would target "objects that we haven't yet struck" if Western governments arm Ukraine with long-range missile systems, a warning that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov echoed on Monday.

Last week, the Biden administration announced that it would send Ukraine the Lockheed Martin-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, which can strike targets roughly 50 miles away.

The M270 weapon system that the British government is set to deliver has about the same range. In a statement, the U.K. Ministry of Defence said the "cutting edge" multiple-launch rocket systems "can strike targets up to 80km away with pinpoint accuracy" and "will offer a significant boost in capability for the Ukrainian forces."

But the Stop the War Coalition—which has characterized Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the West's response as an increasingly dangerous proxy conflict between nuclear-armed states—argued that sending such artillery to Ukrainian forces "will only prolong the misery of the war."

"Sending in such long-range missiles risks escalating the conflict," the coalition said. "Vladimir Putin has threatened that Russia would retaliate by striking new targets in Ukraine."

Far from encouraging a diplomatic resolution to Russia's invasion—which reached the 100-day mark last week—U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to abandon peace talks with Moscow during a visit to Kyiv in April.

Having made tenuous progress up to that point, diplomatic negotiations fell completely apart shortly after Johnson's trip as Russia ramped up its assault on eastern Ukraine.

"Rather than sending extra missiles to Ukraine, which is already awash with foreign artillery, the government should be urging for a ceasefire and the recommencement of peace talks," the Stop the War Coalition said Monday. "We continue to call on the British government to stop fueling the escalation of conflict in Ukraine and demand that it calls for a negotiated peace immediately."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'People Power Has Won The Day': Manchin Dirty Deal Defeated

The win was the result of "hundreds of national and grassroots organizations, along with concerned Americans from coast to coast, working together for the health and safety of frontline communities and a livable future for the planet," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Emissions Unleashed by Manchin Deal Would 'Wipe Out' Any Climate Gains: Analysis

"This analysis shows that Manchin's dirty deal directly undercuts the potential carbon savings of the IRA by fast-tracking fossil fuel projects currently waiting on permits," said Fossil Free Media's Jamie Henn.

Jessica Corbett ·

Florida Told to Brace for Deadly Impact as Ian Expected to Become Category 4 Hurricane

The Tampa Bay area has long been a "sitting duck for catastrophic storm surge and has dodged several bullets," said one climate scientist. "Might not be so lucky this time."

Brett Wilkins ·

Progressives Applaud Biden for Lowering Medicare Part B Premiums

"Democrats want to expand Social Security and Medicare," said one advocate. "Republicans want to cut, privatize, and ultimately end both programs."

Kenny Stancil ·

Suit Against Student Debt Relief Slammed as 'Transparently Frivolous Publicity Stunt'

"Why would this group bring this baseless claim?" asked the White House. "Because opponents of the debt relief plan are trying anything they can to stop this program that will provide needed relief to working families."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo