The UK will provide Ukraine with long-range missiles, defence secretary Ben Wallace has announced.

The besieged Eastern European country has asked repeatedly for long-range weapons following the invasion by Russia.

The U.S has been reluctant to send such weapons due to the possibility of an escalation with one of the world's strongest nuclear powers.

The Storm Shadow missiles carry a 450kg warhead to a range of up to 350 miles (560km), but Mr Wallace said he had received assurances they would not be used to hit targets within Russian territory.

He told the House of Commons: “Today I can confirm that the UK is donating Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine.

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“Storm Shadow is a long-range, conventional-only, precision-strike capability. It complements the long-range systems already gifted, including Himars and Harpoon missiles, as well as Ukraine’s own Neptune cruise missile.

"The donation of these weapons systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend themselves against Russia’s continued brutality, especially the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, which is against international law.

“Ukraine has a right to be able to defend itself against this.

"We always make sure we gift having examined minimising escalation and provocation unnecessarily to the Russian state, that is not the business we are in. We are in the business of helping Ukraine defend itself within its sovereign territory.”

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With the missiles capable of striking deep inside Russian territory, the move is likely to see an escalation in the fighting.

In response to reports, first published by CNN, that a deal had been done the Kremlin previously said there would be an "adequate response from our military".

Mr Wallace added: "These weapons will give Ukraine new capability, members should recognise that these systems are not even in the same league as the Russian AS-24 killjoy hypersonic missile," or "even the Kalibr cruise missile with a range of over 2,000 kilometres, roughly seven times that of a Storm Shadow missile".