The Foreign Secretary has stated that Britain is “ensuring that Ukraine has the capability to defend itself”.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in Parliament:
“In December, I visited British troops forming part of NATO’s enhanced forward presence at Tapa in Estonia, where allies are helping to protect the border with Russia. We are working with our NATO partners to ensure that that protection remains in place and is enhanced so that we can fulfil our commitments.
With Ukraine, we are ensuring that it has the capability to defend itself. That involves training, and the UK has trained more than 20,000 troops in Ukraine. We are also supplying extra capability for naval defences as well as support in areas such as cyber-security and other services.”
The picture at the top of this article shows 16 Air Assault Brigade embarking on a Ukrainian Mil Mi-8 assault helicopter. The British military also conducts frequent surveillance flights near Ukraine.
British Military Assistance to Ukraine – what’s involved?
British military assistance to Ukraine was increased significantly after 2014 and the Russian annexation of Crimea, a Parliamentary Research Briefing paper has taken a look at just what that involves.
In 2015 the UK launched Operation Orbital, a non-lethal training and capacity building operation that provides guidance and training to the Ukrainian armed forces.
“In August 2020 the MOD announced that the UK will lead a new multinational maritime training initiative that will boost the capacity of Ukraine’s Navy to act in the Black Sea. The UK and Ukraine have also launched the Naval Capabilities Enhancement Programme, which will develop Ukraine’s naval capabilities.
To date, over 21,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been trained under these initiatives. The UK has also gifted £2.2 million of non-lethal military equipment.”
In June 2021 the UK, Ukraine and industry signed a Memorandum of Implementation that will push the NCEP forward. Work will now commence on:
• Ukraine’s purchase of two refurbished Royal Navy Sandown-class minehunters in a government-to-government sale
• The sale and integration of missiles on new and in-service Ukrainian Navy patrol and airborne platforms, including a training and engineering support package
• Assistance in building new naval bases in the Black Sea and Azov Sea
• The development and joint production of eight fast missile warships
• Participation in the Ukrainian project to deliver a modern frigate capability.
You can read more directly from the briefing paper itself by clicking here.
Recently, HMS Defender ignored Russian warnings while the warship was sailing near Crimea, so Russia hit back with information warfare trying to paint a story of aggression.
You can read more on this here.