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UK Defense Secretary cancels visit to Ukraine for security reasons

Grant Shapps was scheduled to visit Odesa but had to scrap the visit after UK intelligence reportedly warned that Russia had become aware of his travel plans.
UK Grant Shapps
The UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, speaks with a Swedish Instructor while on a visit to a camp where Ukrainian recruits being trained. Picture by Tim Hammond / UK MoD
UK Defense Secretary cancels visit to Ukraine for security reasons

According to the UK Defense Ministry, Grant Shapps, the UK Defence Secretary, had to cancel his trip to Odesa, southern Ukraine, last week due to security concerns, BBC reported. Shapps was scheduled to visit Odesa but had to scrap the visit after UK intelligence reportedly warned that Russia had become aware of his travel plans.

The decision came a day after a missile struck Odesa, killing five people, while the Ukrainian President and the Greek Prime Minister were visiting the city.

Shapps had traveled from Poland to Ukraine on an overnight train with Adm Sir Tony Radakin, chief of the defense staff, and a small team of British officials. Their aim was to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and senior members of the government. However, the journey to Odesa was abruptly canceled on 7 March, following an intelligence update that revealed the Kremlin’s knowledge of the trip and raised the threat level to Shapps’s safety from substantial to critical.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr. Shapps criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “Putin has shown himself to be reckless, ruthless and careless. The fact that he came perilously close to essentially assassinating two western leaders, it doesn’t matter whether that is deliberate or accidental. What the hell is he doing, and why the heck would the West allow him to do that kind of thing?

“On a recent trip to Ukraine, the defense secretary did not make a planned visit to Odesa for security reasons. The UK continues to provide strong support for Ukraine, and the defense secretary’s visit and engagements only underscored the importance of this support in the face of Putin’s aggression,” the UK Ministry of Defense spokesperson stated.

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that an RAF plane carrying Shapps between the UK and Poland had its GPS signal jammed while flying close to Russian territory.

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