Labour defence secretary travels to Ukraine as govt pledges new supplies to Kyiv

Politics

Defence Secretary John Healey has met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with the Labour government making a new pledge on sending arms to Ukraine.

The Labour minister has already travelled to Ukraine, having been appointed on Friday to his new role.

During his visit to Odesa, he met with President Zelenskyy and Ukraine’s defence minister Rustem Umerov.

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During his visit, Mr Healey pledged ammunition, missiles, boats and artillery.

He also promised the equipment Rishi Sunak announced in April will be delivered within the first 100 days of the new government.

The newly promised material for Ukraine 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;
• 40 de-mining vehicles;
• 10 AS-90 artillery guns;
• 61 bulldozers to help build defensive positions;
• Support for previously gifted AS-90s.

Image:
John Healey in Odesa with Rustem Umerov. Pic: Reuters

Mr Healey said: “There may have been a change in government, but the UK is united for Ukraine.

“As the new defence secretary, I will ensure that we reinvigorate Britain’s support by stepping up supplies of vital military aid.

“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.”

The UK has provided more than £7.6bn to Ukraine in the form of military support since Russia invaded in early 2022.

More than 42,000 Ukrainian soldiers have also been trained in the UK since that summer under Operation Interflex.


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Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the 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.

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

“A free and democratic Ukraine, full of promise and hope, stands in jarring contrast to Russia’s trajectory of contraction and decline, and an increasingly authoritarian future under Putin.

“By continuing to support Ukraine, and by helping to ensure Russia loses, Britain and Europe will be stronger and safer over the long term.”

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