Ukrainian soldiers to be trained on UK soil, armed forces minister confirms

12 April 2022, 08:08 | Updated: 12 April 2022, 08:22

Armed Forces Minister: Ukrainian troops will travel to UK for training

By Asher McShane

Armed forces minister James Heappey today confirmed to LBC that Ukrainian troops will be given training on UK soil to help in their fight against Russia.

Mr Heappey told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast this morning that a contingent of Ukrainian troops will be shown how to drive and command UK-supplied armoured vehicles on UK soil.

“We are getting as much to the Ukrainian MoD as we can," said Mr Heappey.

“120 armoured vehicles are in the process of being made ready and the Ukrainian troops that will operate those will arrive in the UK in the next few days to learn how to drive and command those vehicles.

“There’s more anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons systems we’re sending. There are precision guided weapons.”

Nick replied: “That’s tremendous, so we’re going to be training Ukrainian blokes and women on our kit here in the UK?”

“Yes,” replied Mr Heappey.

His comments come amid reports Russia has used chemical weapons in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

Troops defending the port city of Mariupol are reportedly suffering respiratory failure, dizziness and other symptoms as a result of the "unknown substance".

The unidentified agent is said to have been dropped on the southern city - which has seen some of the worst fighting since the war began - via a Russian drone, according to unverified reports from the city's Azov regiment.

Read More 'All options are on the table': Minister's vow after Russia 'unleashes chemical attack' on Mariupol

Addressing the reports, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it would be a "callous escalation" if Russia has used chemical weapons in its invasion of Ukraine.

She wrote on Twitter: "Reports that Russian forces may have used chemical agents in an attack on the people of Mariupol. We are working urgently with partners to verify details.

"Any use of such weapons would be a callous escalation in this conflict and we will hold Putin and his regime to account."

It comes hours after the UK's Ministry of Defence warned Vladimir Putin may resort to using devastating "phosphorous bombs" in his efforts to take hold of Mariupol and break the stalemate in Ukraine.

The MoD warned Russian forces had already used the devices in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.