- British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said he intends to send British forces to Ukraine.
- He told The Telegraph that he aims to get military training “closer and real” to the country.
- Ukraine is relying on international allies for training and equipment as the Russian invasion continues.
British troops may be deployed to Ukraine for the first time to train soldiers as training efforts intensify on the ground between the war-torn country and its international allies.
Grant Shapps, British Secretary of State for Defence, said in an interview with… Telegraph He was discussing a plan to mobilize British forces with his military commanders.
“I was talking today about eventually bringing the training closer and in Ukraine as well,” Shapps told the outlet. “Especially in the west of the country, I think the opportunity now is to bring more things into the country.”
The plan, as previously mentioned, represents a radical shift from the UK and other allies’ previous avoidance of implementing a formal military presence in the region to avoid direct conflict with Russia.
As well as providing training on the ground in Ukraine, Shapps said British defense companies such as BAE Systems were moving manufacturing to the country. It’s something he hopes to see more British companies doing too.
“I’m keen to see other British companies do their bit by doing the same,” Shapps told The Telegraph. “So I think there will be a move to get more training and production in the country.”
Shapps also floated the idea of the British Navy helping Ukraine in the Black Sea.
He added: “In the last month or so we have seen developments – actually the first since 2014 in the Black Sea, in Crimea – and Britain is a maritime state so we can help and we can advise, especially since the waters are international waters.” Shapps told The Telegraph, adding that he discussed the plan with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this week.
He continued: “It is important that we do not allow any situation to establish by default that international shipping in one way or another is not permitted in those waters. So I think there are a lot of places where Britain can help provide advice.”
Representatives of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and Grant Shapps’ office did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.
While Ukraine relied on its international allies for military training, equipment, and humanitarian aid as the Russian invasion of the country entered its nineteenth month, officials outside Ukraine were reluctant to deploy forces in the country for fear of escalating the ongoing conflict.
The United States has mobilized nearly 4,000 troops to defend NATO countries bordering Ukraine and has offered military training on American soil but has stopped short of deploying squadrons directly to fight in Ukraine, although a small number of special operations forces are stationed at the embassy in Kiev. To assist in intelligence missions, according to Letters of News.
Earlier this month, NBC News Pentagon officials have begun discussing whether or not to bring U.S. troops stationed on Ukraine’s border home or replace them with new soldiers.
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