UK sends troops and weapons to Ukraine amid fears of a Russian invasion

18 January 2022, 08:22

By Emma Soteriou

The UK has sent troops and high-tech anti-tank weapons to Ukraine due to fears Russia is planning to invade.

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In a warning signal to Vladimir Putin, two RAF transporters flew desperately needed missile systems to Kiev. The troops that are accompanying them will remain in Ukraine to teach their counterparts how to combat Russian tanks.

Up to 100,000 Russian troops are positioned on the Ukrainian border and despite Moscow insisting it has "no plans" to attack, it is feared this is not the case.

Today Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told LBC: "We are worried about the aggressive sounds and build-up on the Russian side of the border."

"We do stand with our allies and partners in supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine, making sure we can support them in defensive measures."

When Nick Ferrari pressed the Deputy Prime Minister on the support for Ukraine asking if Russian president Valdamir Putin could "just roll into the country", Mr Raab warned there would be "very serious economic consequences for Russia."

He called on Moscow to "dial down the rhetoric, scale back the intimidation and engage diplomatically on the issues to avoid what I would be a disaster for Russia, and very damaging of course for Ukraine."

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Speaking in the Commons, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "In light of the increasingly threatening behaviour from Russia and in addition to our current support, the UK is providing a new security assistance package to increase Ukraine's defensive capabilities.

"We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armour defensive weapons systems.

"A small number of UK personnel will provide early-stage training for a short period of time, within the framework of Operation Orbital, before returning to the United Kingdom.

"This security assistance package complements the training capabilities Ukraine already has and those that are also being provided by the UK and other allies in Europe and the United States.

"Ukraine has every right to defend its borders and this new package of aid further enhances its ability to do so.

"Let me be clear: this support is for short-range and clearly defensive weapon capabilities; they are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia; they are to use in self-defence."

Mr Wallace said that there is a "package of international sanctions ready to go" should any "destabilising action" by Russia in Ukraine take place.

He added that any invasion will be viewed as an "occupation", adding: "I fear it could lead to a huge loss of life on all sides.

"The current difficult relationship with the Kremlin is not the one we wish it to have with the United Kingdom, it does not have to be this way."

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