Defence Secretary pledges tens of thousands of more artillery shells for Ukraine

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Rt Hon Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Defence. Photographer: Sgt Jimmy Wise - UK MOD © Crown copyright.

The UK has delivered over 300,000 artillery shells to Ukraine and is committed to delivering tens of thousands more artillery shells this year, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announced yesterday as he hailed the unity of partners and allies in delivering military support to Ukraine.

The Defence Secretary attended the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) today at the US Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany, alongside Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

The UDCG brings together ministers and senior officials from nearly 50 nations to coordinate international support for Ukraine.

During the meeting, both the Defence Secretary and CDS emphasised the UK’s unwavering commitment to providing vital munitions to help Ukraine defend itself, having recently completed delivery of the 300,000th artillery shell to Ukraine.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Today we’ve demonstrated the UK’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine and set out more military support, including pledging tens of thousands more artillery shells to enable Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked invasion and to retake illegally occupied territories.

To ensure Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself as we approach winter, we have also set out how the UK will go further in the coming months in our priority support areas, including air defence and long-range strike capabilities, and training.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the Defence Secretary to meet the new Defence Minister of Ukraine, Rustem Umerov, for the first time.

He also held a bilateral meeting with the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, to discuss shared security interests and ongoing work to align international defence industrial output and optimise supply chains to ensure a steady and increased flow of munitions to Ukraine.

The Defence Secretary outlined priority areas for support in the coming months, including air defence to protect Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure during the winter, further artillery ammunition, and support to help Ukraine sustain the capabilities already provided – including to recover and repair equipment used in its counter-offensive.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, said:

With representatives from 50 nations gathered in Ramstein today, President Putin should be worried. This is a tangible demonstration of the international community’s continued resolve to back Ukraine with the military support it requires through the winter and into 2024.

The United Kingdom will continue to work with our allies and partners to help build Ukraine’s long-term resilience so it can fulfil its potential as a secure and prosperous sovereign nation.

“It is of the utmost importance that the United Kingdom and its Allies stay strong in our ongoing support to Ukraine” – UK Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin. Photographer: Cpl Tim Hammond – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023.

The UK is committed to standing with Ukraine for as long as it takes to defend itself against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion. The UK is one of the leading providers of military support for Ukraine, having provided £2.3 billion worth in 2022 and having committed to maintain that support in 2023. It was the first country to donate modern main battle tanks as well as training Ukrainian tank crews in the UK and delivering them within 11 weeks of announcement.

The Royal Air Force will also work as part of a wider international effort to train the next generation of Ukraine’s combat pilots, who will fly the fourth-generation fighter jets being provided by Allies.

To date, the UK has supplied more than 12,000 anti-tank weapons, 300,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, thousands of air defence missiles, self-propelled artillery, and more than 200,000 pieces of non-lethal equipment, including extreme cold weather clothing, mine detection equipment, and industrial strength generators.

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