Defence Secretary travels to Ukraine to meet President Zelenskyy

President Zelenskyy with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace in Ukraine. Screengrab from President Zelenskyy's Telegram account.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace travelled to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov to discuss Ukraine’s efforts to fight off Russia’s brutal and unjustified invasion.

The working visit took place this week to allow the Defence Secretary to hear first-hand how the operational needs of Ukraine’s Armed Forces are developing as the nature of the conflict continues to change.

This will ensure that the UK’s continued support is evolving to meet those requirements and is tailored to the situation on the ground.

The Defence Secretary visited Minister Reznikov on the first of the two day visit, before speaking with President Zelenskyy about how the UK support will continue to meet Ukraine’s needs as the conflict enters a different phase.

The three agreed to work even more closely going forward in support of their shared goal of enabling Ukraine to liberate itself from illegal Russian occupation. They also discussed the range of equipment and training the UK is currently providing and what further support we can offer to help Ukrainian forces to defend their country.

The meetings focused on the UK continuing to provide operationally effective lethal aid that meets the current and future threats facing Ukraine and follows up on a number of other in person meetings. In March, Minister Reznikov visited the Ministry of Defence and in April a Ukrainian military and political delegation visited Salisbury Plain training area to discuss UK provision of lethal aid. These face to face meetings allow for in-depth discussions on what support is required to meet the requirements of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Britain was the first European country to send lethal aid to Ukraine and has since sent military aid worth more than £750 million, including thousands of anti-tank missiles, air defence systems and armoured vehicles.

The UK has also played a key convening role in the international effort to supply weapons to Ukraine, most notably hosting the first two international donor conferences. The Defence Secretary will ensure the insights and future requirements established from this visit will be used to support the wider international response.

Following the new phase of the conflict in the Donbas, the UK recently announced it would gift M270 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Ukrainian forces defend themselves from Russian long-range artillery, which has been used indiscriminately to devastate population centres.


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