Ben Wallace, 51, who has been Secretary of State for Defence since July 2019, has revealed the UK may add to the number of weapons it has already sent to Ukraine this week. Britain has begun supplying Ukraine with new light anti-tank weapons in response to “the increasingly threatening behaviour from Russia” as an estimated 127,000 troops gather at the border of Ukraine, Mr Wallace announced.
The boost in military support comes after Russian forces began increasing troop deployment by moving forces into Belarus, which is on Ukraine’s northern border.
Mr Wallace told the Daily Mail: “I will keep the question of sending more defensive weapons to Ukraine under close review.
“I do not rule anything out within helping Ukraine deliver self-defence.
“The UK is determined to stand by Ukraine, its sovereignty and our mutual interests.
He said: “We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armour defensive weapon systems.”
However, he did not specify the number or type of weapons which have been sent to the Eastern European nation, but clarified they are to be used for defence.
The Defence Secretary continued: “They are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia. They are to use in self-defence.
“These are short-range …. but nevertheless it would make people pause and think what they were doing and if tanks were to roll into Ukraine, invade it, then they would be part of the defence mechanism.”
Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, 55, who has served in the position since November 2021, welcomed the announcement.
He tweeted to his two thousand followers: “Ukraine highly appreciates Britain’s decision to provide a new security package with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems!”
The move to supply Ukraine with weapons has been criticised by the Kremlin who accused Britain of fuelling tensions.
Last night, Moscow’s embassy in London tweeted: “It is crystal clear that UK shipment of lethal weapons to Ukraine will only fuel the crisis and increase tensions.”