Ukraine Situation Report: France Sending SCALP-EG Cruise Missiles

Following the United Kingdom’s announcement that it had sent Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country will provide Kyiv with virtually identical weapons called SCALP-EGs.

Macron announced his decision Monday to the French TF1Info media outlet. Deliveries of French SCALP-EGs will only further expand the Ukrainian military’s stand-off strike arsenal.

With a stated range in excess of 155 miles, these missiles give Ukraine’s forces additional munitions that exceed the range and punch of anything previously provided by the United States or the country’s other international partners, at least that we know about. The missiles, which contain warheads capable of penetrating hardened targets, have stealthy features and use low-altitude flight profiles to reduce the possibility of interception. You can read more about what these missiles bring to the table for the Ukrainian Air Force in our previous deep dive on Storm Shadow here.

By comparison, the vaunted Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) artillery rockets provided by the U.S. and allies – fired by the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and variants and derivatives of the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) provided to Ukraine – have a range of some 43 miles and a smaller warhead.

The Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB) the United States has said it will be providing have a range of about 94 miles with a smaller warhead than the one found inside SCALP-EG and Storm Shadow.

The U.S.-donated Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extend Range, or JDAM-ER, air-launched precision-guided bomb has a range of about 45 miles with considerable destructive power, the implications of which The War Zone has previously explored in detail.

The Russian Defense Ministry (MoD), meanwhile, claims Ukraine has already used Storm Shadows on Luhansk City. Pictures purporting to show debris from at least one of the missiles have been circulating online.

It remains unclear how the Ukrainians might be employing Storm Shadows. The Ukrainian Air Force is using “specially modernized” Su-24 Fencers “under the cover of MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters with [AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile] HARM” missiles to launch the Storm Shadows, the Russian Izvestia news agency reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources. The War Zone had previously noted that Ukraine’s Su-24s and Su-27s are the only aircraft the country has that could realistically carry these missiles at all.

“To ensure the safety of their aviation, the Ukrainian command is actively using false targets in the form of UAVs,” according to Izvestia. The Russian outlet’s story did not specify what kinds of drones might be being used for this purpose, but there is evidence that Ukrainian forces have also been employing U.S.-made ADM-160 Miniature Air-Launched Decoys (MALD), as you can read more about here.

When the French SCALP-EGs will be delivered to Ukraine is still unknown, but we will continue to monitor this and let you know when we find out.

Before we head into the latest from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can catch up on our previous rolling coverage here.

The Latest

On the battlefield, Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of the Ground Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, visited the troops near Bakhmut and thanked them for their counteroffensive actions this week.

“Visited commanders and soldiers on the front line,” he wrote Tuesday on his Telegram channel. “Each of them is the author of a new page in the history of our war.”

Referring to the Russian Wagner mercenary group, Syrskyi said that those troops “climbed into Bakhmut like rats into a mousetrap.”

“Using the principle of active defense, we resort to counteroffensive actions in some directions near Bakhmut,” he wrote. “The enemy has more resources, but we destroy his plans.”

Together with the commanders of units and subdivisions, Syrskyi “discussed and adopted the necessary decisions for the continuation of the defense operation. All possible scenarios of the development of events were calculated.”

Presenting awards and medals to his troops, Syrskyi said, “I am grateful to each and every one of them for their heroism, in particular, to the servicemen of the 57th Military Brigade, 3rd Brigade, 5th Brigade, 24th Brigade, 56th Brigade and other brigades for their exploits on the battlefield. Let’s keep in line! Together – we will win! Glory to Ukraine and its defenders!”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have agreed to separate meetings with a delegation of leaders from six African countries to discuss a possible plan to end the war in Ukraine, South Africa’s president said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

Cyril Ramaphosa said he spoke with Putin and Zelensky by phone over the weekend and they each agreed to host “an African leaders peace mission” in Moscow and Kyiv, respectively, AP reported.

“Principal to our discussions are efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the devastating conflict in the Ukraine,” said Ramaphosa, whose nation has strong ties to Russia.

This all comes after U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, told local journalists in a briefing last week that Washington was confident a Russian vessel had uploaded weapons and ammunition from South Africa in December.

“Ramaphosa’s office said on Thursday that an inquiry led by a retired judge would look into the U.S. allegation,” according to Reuters. “On Friday, a minister responsible for arms control and a foreign ministry spokesman said South Africa had not approved any arms shipment to Russia in December.”

The leaders of Zambia, Senegal, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Egypt would make up the delegation along with Ramaphosa, he said in a statement. Putin and Zelensky gave him the go-ahead to “commence the preparations,” the South African leader said. At the time of writing, the Russian and Ukrainian governments do not appear to have publicly confirmed any of these details.

As of yet, there has been no apparent confirmation from either Kyiv or Moscow, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The White House said it supports any negotiations Ukraine supports.

“We support any third-party peace proposal as long as it can be seen as credible, enforceable, and sustainable,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “And for those three things to be the case it’s got to be supported by President [Volodymyr] Zelensky. And the Ukrainian people. Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine. I said it a million times but keep saying it.”

Ukrainian Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of his military’s Defense Intelligence directorate (GUR) said the GUR has been conducting backchannel negotiations with Belarus through Belarusian MP Yevhen Shevchenko.

“We used all possible means of communication,” Budanov told the Rasnye Lyudi (Different People) YouTube channel. “They even involved, letʼs say, one MP. In order to prevent Belarus from being drawn into the war, this is the first goal. The second goal was when the Russian army was pushed out, to prevent a second approach from Belarus. As time has shown, this has now been achieved.”

Ukrainian forces look to be using Romanian 152mm M1981 howitzers, a derivative of the Soviet-era D-20, according to the Ukraine Weapons Tracker OSINT group. This follows the emergence of APR-40 122mm multiple rocket launchers apparently in Ukrainian service earlier this month.

Storm Shadow may be getting the headlines at the moment, but the U.S.-donated Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) rockets are still creating havoc on the battlefield for Russia. The Ukraine Weapons Tracker OSINT group has highlighted a report that a GMLRS recently destroyed a Russian Pantsir-S1 air defense system in Donetsk Oblast.

GMLRS also reportedly destroyed a Russian 9A310M1 TELAR near Popasna in Luhansk Oblast. The 9A310M1 is used in both the Buk-M1 and M2 air defense systems and it’s unclear which one this particular example may have been.

Ukraine’s Air Force remains in the fight as well, as you can see from this low-level attack by a Ukrainian Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack jet.

A Siberian court has sent a man suspected of setting an out-of-service Su-24 Fencer fighter jet on fire at the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant in early May to pretrial detention, according to the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news organization.

“The Lenin district court in Novosibirsk ruled on May 15 that Viktor Skorobogatov must stay in pretrial detention until at last July 12 on a charge of arson aimed at destroying an industrial facility and damaging Russia’s defense capability. Since Russia launched its ongoing invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, hundreds of arson attacks have been reported, mostly targeting military conscription centers.”

That’s it for now. We’ll update this story when there is more news to report about Ukraine.

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