British military aid reaches Ukraine

British military aid, including anti-tank weapons, arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday to help Kyiv defend itself from a potential invasion during a stand-off with Russia which has massed its troops near the Ukrainian border.

Ukraine seeks to enhance military capabilities amid Russian hostility

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke in the last few days with the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Britain’s defence minister Ben...

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Western countries say they fear that the Kremlin is preparing a pretext for a new assault on Ukraine, which it invaded in 2014. Moscow denies any plans for an attack, but has said it could take unspecified military action unless the West agrees to a list of demands, including banning Ukraine from ever joining NATO.

As a consequence of the talks ending with no breakthrough last week, Kyiv has asked Western countries for arms to help it protect itself.

The first aid package was delivered on Monday

“We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armor defensive weapon systems,” Ben Wallace, British Defence Secretary, told parliament, saying the first anti-tank systems were delivered on Monday and a small number of British personnel would provide Ukrainians with appropriate training for a short period of time.

He did not specify the number or type of weapons that were being sent, but said that “they are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia,” adding that “they are to be used in self-defence.”

“This will strengthen our forces, this will enhance our defensive capabilities. And I want to stress that this assistance will be used exclusively for self-defence purposes, to protect our troops, to protect critical infrastructure, and to protect civilians,” Anatoliy Petrenko, Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister for European Integration, said.

Britain has previously warned Russia of severe consequences if it launched a new military assault on Ukraine, while offering financing to enhance Ukraine’s naval capabilities.