Ukraine: Ben Wallace reacts to threats from Vladimir Putin
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UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace suggested the UK would continue to provide training to Ukrainian forces at a press conference earlier today. When asked about the UK’s weapons deliveries to Ukraine, Mr Wallace said: “The question really is not just about a shopping list. It’s about ingredients and the cookbook you need to make it into a meal. And we can help with that, and we do.”
Speaking about peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, Mr Wallace said he wants Ukraine to approach them from a “position of strength”.
He said: “The position of the UK would be that it is for Ukraine to choose the manner and the level of its negotiations.
“It is Britain’s role to make sure they do that from a position of strength not weakness.”
In April, it was revealed that Ukrainian troops are being trained to use armoured vehicles on British soil.
British forces are also training Ukrainian soldiers to use anti-aircraft defences in Poland.
Confirming the move, Mr Johnson said: “I can say that we are currently training Ukrainians in Poland in the use of anti-aircraft defence and actually in the UK in the use of armoured vehicles.”
The troops began training in Britain in early April.
They are being trained on how to use the armoured patrol vehicles donated by Britain to the Ukrainian armed forces.
The UK is providing Ukraine with 120 armoured patrol vehicles, including the Mastiff, a vehicle which can be used as both a reconnaissance or patrol vehicle.
A spokesperson for Mr Johnson added: “It is only sensible that they get requisite training to make the best use of it.
“We are always conscious of anything perceived to be escalatory but clearly what is escalatory is the actions of (Vladimir) Putin’s regime.”
Mr Wallace’s comments come as Ukraine’s defence against Putin’s force moves into its fourth month.
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At the press conference, Mr Wallace also revealed that he expects Finland and Sweden to be granted NATO ‘invitee’ status before the alliance’s summit in Madrid.
He said: “I’m optimistic by the time we get to the summit, or before we get there.”
The UK has been supplying Ukraine with increasing numbers of weapons since Putin’s invasion began on February 24, 2022.
In March, Mr Wallace announced the UK would provide Starstreak, a high-velocity anti-aircraft missile system, and more than 4,000 anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian armed forces.
Previously, 2,000 Anglo-Swedish Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapons (NLAWs) were sent from the UK to Ukraine.
NLAWs have been crucial in the country’s defence of major cities such as Kyiv and Kharkiv.
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