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Macron permits Ukraine to strike Russian airfields in Belgorod, Kursk with French Scalp missiles

Macron permits Ukraine to strike Russian airfields in Belgorod, Kursk with French Scalp missiles French President Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)

The words of French President Emmanuel Macron that Ukraine should have the right to strike military targets in Russia can be interpreted as a green light to strike Russian airfields with Scalp (Storm Shadow) missiles, as an anonymous French military aviation officer told BBC News.

"We should allow (Ukraine) to neutralize the military sites from which the missiles are fired and, basically, the military sites from which Ukraine is attacked," Macron said last week.

As the French officer explained to BBC, the Ukrainian military now has permission to strike airfields in the Kursk and Belgorod regions of Russia with French Scalp missiles.

However, according to the officer, such operations will be limited for now, as Ukraine has not yet received F-16 fighter jets. Soviet Su-24 bombers equipped with Scalp missiles will have to fly very close to the Russian border, making them vulnerable to Russian air defense.

Scalp is the French version of the Storm Shadow cruise missile, which is a joint development of Britain and France. The French and British versions of the missile are generally identical. The only differences are in the software and the aircraft that can carry them.

The operational range of Scalp missiles, as the developer says, is 560 km. However, there is an export version with a reduced range of 290 kilometers and a smaller warhead.

Ukraine's strikes against Russia

Last week, several NATO countries gave their approval for Ukraine to strike Russian territory with their weapons, which has been taboo since the start of the full-scale invasion. These countries include France, the United States, and Germany. Britain gave its permission in early May.

The United States allowed the Ukrainian army to use American weapons only against targets in the border areas. Initially, it was only the Kharkiv region, but later a White House spokesperson clarified that it also meant other border regions.

To find out how this can help the Ukrainian army in an RBC-Ukraine article.