UK to provide anti-tank missiles to help Ukraine battle Russian invasion

Britain has announced it will send 200 more anti-tank missiles to Ukraine in a bid to boost its defences against the Russian invasion.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK “won’t stop supporting the brave Ukrainians until they have won” as the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale attack on the country approaches.

But Mr Shapps also advised the United States that it will find it “far more expensive” in the future to defend the world order if it does not maintain its support for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been struggling to convince Republicans in Washington to facilitate a major funding package for Kyiv.

“These missiles have previously had significant impact on the battlefield, in one instance forcing Russian forces to abandon and retreat an attempted crossing of a river.”

He said the UK would train further Ukrainian troops alongside other allies, adding: “Together we will train a further 10,000 in the first half of 2024.”

In a warning to faltering allies of Ukraine, Mr Shapps said: “The UK will continue to double down on that support. All freedom-loving countries must be compelled to do the same.

“This year will be make or break for Ukraine, so it is time for the West and all civilised nations to step up and give Ukraine the backing it needs.”

Conservative former defence minister Mark Francois said he recently visited the United States to lobby Republican politicians to support the aid package for Ukraine.

He said: “In one such conversation a Republican perfectly reasonably asked me: ‘Why should I tell the people of my district to send their taxpayer dollars to Ukraine?’

“To which I humbly replied: ‘Because as a member of Nato it is ultimately cheaper than sending your sons and daughters.’

“In that context, would the Defence Secretary agree with me that whilst we must respect American domestic politics, it’s not for us to tell them what to do, this again is a time for the new world in all its power and might to come to the rescue and liberation of the old?”

“The reason this is in America’s interest isn’t just to come to the rescue of Europe but it is because other despotic leaders, other autocrats or other regimes of any type will be looking at whether we simply lose and give up because we get bored of the fight and then walk away.

“And they’ll draw conclusions about that and decide whether in fact they can always take on the red line, the West, the no-go area, based on the fact that all you have to do is wait it out.

“That is why (Mr Francois) is absolutely right to say it is indicatively in America’s interest to step in here because otherwise they will find it far more expensive in the future, perhaps in other parts of the world, to defend the world order.”

For Labour, shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “The UK is totally united, totally committed in supporting Ukraine as they fight for their freedoms, for their territorial integrity and their right as a democratic country to decide their own future.

“The UK will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes to win.”

Mr Healey said military support needs to be ramped up throughout 2024 and beyond, including a “clear path” for Ukraine’s Nato membership.

He also said there is a need to “reboot the diplomatic drive to maintain Western unity and support” to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin to account.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –