In a statement Britain said, it has begun supplying anti-tank weapons to Ukraine to help defend itself from a potential invasion. The development comes in the wake of Russia amassing troops near the Ukrainian border.
Western countries fear Russia is preparing a potential invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has denied such plans for an attack but has made it clear it could take unspecified military action if the West does not agree to a list of demands, including banning Ukraine from ever joining NATO.
Kyiv has asked Western countries for help to protect itself.
“We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armour defensive weapon systems,” said British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace saying the first systems were already delivered on Monday and a small number of British personnel would provide training for a short period of time.
Wallace did not mention the number or type of weapons being sent, but said, “They are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia. They are to use in self-defence.”
“These are short-range …. but nevertheless it would make people pause and think what they were doing and if tanks were to roll into Ukraine, invade it, then they would be part of the defence mechanism.”
Ukraine’s defence minister has welcomed Wallace’s announcement.
“Ukraine highly appreciates Britain’s decision to provide a new security package with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems!” tweeted Oleksii Reznikov.
Previously, Britain has warned Russia of significant consequences if it launches a military assault on Ukraine and offered Kiev funding to enhance its naval capabilities.
Wallace has invited Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to visit London in the next few weeks to discuss the crisis.
“The current gap is wide but not unbridgeable,” said Wallace hoping that diplomacy would prevail while adding, “It is President (Vladimir) Putin’s choice.”