The United Kingdom has played a significant role in training more than 60,000 Ukrainian military personnel since the outbreak of Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine in 2014, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in a speech delivered at the Lancaster House in London.
According to the British Defense Secretary, it is not enough for the West to deter aggression in the world. The West must lead, “standing up for our values around the world,” and Ukraine is a “test case,” Shapps believes.
“British leadership has already had a galvanizing effect. We’ve convened some 10 countries to help Ukrainians train here in the UK. And today I can announce that our programs have now trained over 60,000 Ukrainian troops since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in 2014,” Shapps said.
The British Defense Secretary reminded that in December, he launched a new maritime coalition with Norway to “defend Ukraine’s maritime flank.” Later, 20 other countries joined the coalition.
Shapps believes that Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin thinks “the West lacks staying power,” so the West must prove him wrong. Putin’s victory in Ukraine would be a signal of the West’s weakness “to other would-be aggressors.” The defense secretary says this is the reason why the British Prime Minister RIshi Sunak signed “the historic UK-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation,” which is “the start of a 100-year alliance that we are building with our Ukrainian friends.”
Shapps says the alliance sees the UK boosting military support for Ukraine to £2.5 billion (nearly $3.1), totaling over £7 billion (nearly $8.9), including equipment from the UK’s inventory, of which £200 million ($255) will be used for drones, including surveillance and long-range strike drones.
“This continues the UK’s proud record as a leading donor – always being the first to get Ukraine exactly what they need,” Shapps said.
Shortly before Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Britain supplied NLAW anri-tank systems to Ukraine, which contributed to the destruction of the Russian equipment in the first days of the all-out war. In early 2023, Britain became the first country to supply the Western tanks, Challenger 2, to Ukraine.
The UK took the lead in offering weapons training and was the first country to supply NLAW anti-tank missiles, to deliver modern tanks, and to dispatch long-range missiles to Ukraine.
“Now we will become the largest provider of drones too,” Defense Secretary Shapps noted.
Back in March 2023, 85% of Ukrainians supported the creation of a military-political alliance of Ukraine, Poland, and Great Britain, favoring this option even more than Ukraine’s accession to NATO, supported by three-fourths of respondents, according to a poll by the Rating Sociological Group.
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