New Defence Secretary pledges support for Ukraine

The new Defence Secretary has pledged to step up support for Ukraine on a visit to Odesa.

John Healey met with President Zelenskyy and Defence Minister of Ukraine Rustem Umerov. 

He then announced that the UK would provide a new package of support to the country, including more artillery guns, a quarter of a million ammunition rounds and nearly 100 precision Brimstone missiles.

The Defence Secretary also pledged to fast-track military support committed for Ukraine in April to arrive within the next 100 days.

During the visit, which coincided with Ukrainian celebrations of their annual navy day, the Defence Secretary confirmed that Britain’s steadfast commitment to Ukraine will be reinvigorated by the new government in Westminster.

Defence Secretary John Healey said: "There may have been a change in government, but the UK is united for Ukraine.

"Our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people is absolute, as is our resolve to confront Russian aggression and pursue Putin for his war crimes.

"This government is steadfast in our commitment to continue supplying military assistance and will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Ukrainian friends for as long as it takes."

This new package includes a quarter of a million of 50 calibre ammunition, 90 anti-armour Brimstone missiles, 50 small military boats to support river and coastal operations, and 40 de-mining vehicles.

Around 60 bulldozers to help build defensive positions have also been included. 

Healey also directed officials to ensure that the promised package in April of military aid is accelerated and delivered in full to Ukraine within the next 100 days.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, said: "The recent milestone of 500,000 Russians killed or wounded is a reminder of how badly this war has gone for Russia. Over the past year, with British help, Ukraine has driven the Russian fleet from Crimea and reopened the Black Sea for exports."

He added: "The battle on land is much tougher, but Ukraine’s future as a sovereign nation is not in doubt."


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