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15 Jan, 2024 19:38

UK boasts of leading aid to Ukraine

London has touted its “100-year alliance” with Kiev while ignoring Washington
UK boasts of leading aid to Ukraine

Britain has trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers since 2014 and led the Western effort to aid Kiev, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said on Monday. 

Shapps spoke at Lancaster House in London about the UK’s place in a “more dangerous world.” He painted Britain as a leading global military and industrial power, without once mentioning the US. 

Just last week, Shapps said, the UK was “able to both take action to defend ourselves against the Houthis and uplift our support to Ukraine to new record levels.” This was a reference to the mainly US air and missile strikes on the Yemeni group, in which four RAF jets took part.

“For Ukraine, this will be a year when the fate of their nation may be decided,” Shapps said, arguing that “the West must not let them down.”

With the package British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Friday, Britain’s military aid to Ukraine has exceeded £7 billion ($8.9 billion), “with even more gifted directly from the UK’s equipment inventory,” according to the defense minister.

“This continues the UK’s proud record as a leading donor – always being the first to get Ukraine exactly what they need. The UK was the first to provide Ukraine with weapons training, the first to provide NLAW anti-tank missiles, the first to give modern tanks, the first to send long range missiles. Now we will become the largest provider of drones too,” Shapps said.

He described the security cooperation agreement Sunak signed with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky as “the start of a 100-year alliance” with Kiev, which formalizes British support “in everything from intelligence sharing and cyber security to medical and military training.”

Shapps revealed that the UK has trained over 60,000 Ukrainian soldiers since Russia “launched its invasion” in 2014. This was presumably a reference to the Crimean referendum to rejoin Russia, which followed the US-backed coup in Kiev in February that year.

Notably absent from the British defense minister’s speech was any mention of the US whatsoever, except in vague terms referring to Britain’s “international partnerships.” 

Both UK and US generals helped design Kiev’s 2023 counteroffensive, but the Ukrainian high command scrapped the plan just four days into the operation because “nothing went as planned,” the Washington Post revealed in December

London also had a hand in scuttling the peace talks between Kiev and Moscow in April 2022, according to both Ukrainian media and officials. Then PM Boris Johnson has not denied urging Kiev to reject any peace deal, but said he never “ordered” anyone to do anything.

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