A response to a written question has revealed the extent of British support for the defence of Ukraine.
Andrew Rosindell, Member of Parliament for Romford, posed a written Parliamentary question:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps the Government is taking to safeguard Ukrainian defence and security.”
Mark Lancaster, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, replied:
“The UK remains a steadfast partner to Ukraine as it faces continued acts of aggression and threats to its sovereignty.
British personnel have been involved in the training mission, Operation Orbital since February 2015; in this time they have trained over 13,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. During a visit in September 2018 the Secretary of State for Defence extended Operation Orbital to March 2020.
In November 2018, Russia seized three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors. In response the Secretary of State accelerated the deployment of HMS Echo into the Black Sea, clearly demonstrating the UK’s unwavering support both to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and to ensuring freedom of navigation in the Black Sea. The UK continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder alongside the international community in calling for the immediate release of the sailors.
This year Operation Orbital has delivered support and mentoring to the Ukrainian Navy through training teams consisting of personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Army. The UK and Ukrainian Armed Forces will also gain further opportunities to develop capability and share expertise by committing to bilateral and multilateral exercises later this year. The Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has stated on several occasions that Operation Orbital has saved lives.
Finally, the UK remains committed to supporting Ukraine as it implements wide-ranging reforms, including those set out in their Strategic Defence Bulletin. We view supporting defence reform, and reform more broadly, as a key priority in our bilateral engagement and in relation to Ukraine’s EU and NATO aspirations. The UK has an assistance programme focused on Defence Reform and institution-building, as well as transparency in procurement and anti-corruption. This programme is facilitated by our Special Defence Advisor, embedded within the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.”