With Russia poised to invade Ukraine, the UK has announced plans to deliver lightweight anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. The move was described by British Minister of Defence Ben Wallace as aimed at strengthening defence capabilities.
“These are not strategic weapons and do not pose a threat to Russia,” Wallace assured. Some British military personnel will also be sent to train the Ukrainian army. The minister did not specify which models of weapons were sent, but said a first shipment left on Monday.
“Ukraine is well within its rights to defend its borders,” Wallace added. He noted that British forces have trained more than 22,000 Ukrainian soldiers since 2015.
Tensions at the Russian-Ukrainian border have been mounting as Russian President Vladimir Putin amassed over 100,000 troops in the border region in late 2021. Ukraine fears a potential invasion.
Yet Moscow claims that the movements are simply preparations against a possible NATO zone expansion. Ukraine is not a NATO member state but has long kept up relations with the organisation.
While intense discussions have taken place this year to de-escalate tensions, they have yet to result in any further action.
US negotiates with Russia
The United States has also taken steps concerning Ukraine. During a call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “stressed the importance of pursuing a diplomatic path to defuse tensions arising from the deeply troubling build-up of Russian troops in and around Ukraine,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
On Tuesday, Blinken departed for Kiev, where negotiations will continue. He emphasized that “any discussion on European security must include NATO allies and European partners.”
During a press conference with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, Lavrov said he was waiting for answers from the West on Russia’s demands for the non-expansion of NATO before resuming any negotiations concerning Ukraine.