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UK Defence Secretary Shapps backs sending naval forces to Black Sea, PM Sunak objects

1 October, 2023 Sunday
19:11

UK Prime Minister Sunak has refuted Defence Secretary Shapps' statement about sending British troops to Ukraine. He says this should happen in the long run, but definitely not now

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The new British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps announced in an interview with the Telegraph that the British military would be sent to Ukraine.

According to him, he recently held talks with the army leadership about moving the official training program for the Ukrainian military under the leadership of the United Kingdom directly to Ukraine, so as not to rely on British or NATO bases.

However, Sunak denied Shapps' statement, noting that there are no plans to send British troops to Ukraine in the near future. This was reported by Reuters.

"What the defence secretary was saying was that it might well be possible one day in the future for us to do some of that training in Ukraine," the British prime minister said.

NATO members, including the United Kingdom, have so far avoided sending their troops to Ukraine because of the risk that they could come under fire from Russia.

In addition, deploying British troops to Ukraine or providing naval support in the Black Sea would mean a significant increase in the UK's involvement in the war.

Following his visit to Kyiv on September 28, Mr. Shapps also said that he had spoken with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about how the UK Navy could help protect commercial vessels from Russian attacks in the Black Sea.

"It’s important that we don’t allow a situation to establish by default that somehow international shipping isn’t allowed in that water," the British Defense Secretary emphasized.

The outlet notes that over 20,000 Ukrainian servicemen have already undergone basic military training in the UK as part of Operation INTERFLEX.

  • On June 28, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov met with the newly appointed UK Secretary of State for Defense, Grant Shapps.

  • Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, met with Chief of the UK Defense Staff Admiral Sir Radakin.

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