The UK and Ukraine will strengthen their defence partnership in the face of intensifying threats and aggression from Russia, say the Ministry of Defence.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“As long as Ukraine faces Russian hostilities, it will find a steadfast partner in the United Kingdom. By continuing to work together, whether through training programmes or military exercises, we help Ukraine to stand up for our shared values.
Those values of freedom and democracy cannot be traded. I have witnessed on the frontline the effects of the conflict in the East and this has completely reinforced my support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”
Minister of Defence of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak said:
“The United Kingdom is a valued partner that has supported Ukraine’s Armed Forces for the last four years in the face of Russian aggression. As we fight to defend our territory, the offer of extended support from the UK Armed Forces is vitally important and gratefully received.”
According to a news release from the department, the Defence Secretary announced at the meeting that HMS Echo would deploy to the Black Sea in 2019 to demonstrate the UK’s support to ensuring freedom of navigation in the region.
It was also confirmed that, in January and February next year, training teams – made up of personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Army – will deploy to Ukraine as part of the extension to the UK’s military training operation announced by Williamson on his visit to the country in September.