Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed that British forces are training Ukrainian forces, in both Poland and Britain itself.
Speaking during a visit to India, the Prime Minister revealed that British forces are training Ukrainians in the use of anti-aircraft missile systems in Poland, just across the border from Ukraine, and also training them in the use of armoured vehicles at home in Britain.
“I can say that we are currently training Ukrainians in Poland in the use of anti-aircraft defence and actually in the UK in the use of armoured vehicles,” Johnson said.
The British government has committed to donating some 120 vehicles to the Ukrainian military, including Mastiff heavy troop carriers, Wolfhound variants of the Mastiff, and Husky protected support vehicles.
Prime Minister Johnson’s spokesman insisted that actively training Ukrainian forces is not escalatory, saying that “What is escalatory is the actions of [Russian president Vladimir] Putin and his regime in Ukraine” in comments quoted by The Guardian.
“We are simply working together with our allies to give Ukraine the best tools to defend themselves,” he added.
"Block off this industrial area so that not even a fly comes through."
President Vladimir Putin orders the Russian military to not storm the Azovstal steel mill, the last Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol.
His defence minister told him the city had been "liberated". pic.twitter.com/562Z5dDNIv
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) April 21, 2022
The announcement comes as Russian forces, having largely withdrawn from the Kyiv (Kiev) region, are refocusing their efforts on eastern and southern Ukraine.
The invaders are reported by the BBC to have seized some 40 villages in the east on Thursday — Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed the gains will be merely “temporary” — and they also claim they have finally “liberated” long-besieged Mariupol, although in fact President Putin has called off a final push to defeat Ukrainian defenders in the port city’s Azovstal steelworks, fearing heavy losses would be incurred.
Russian commander Major General Rustam Minnekayev has reportedly said that Moscow’s current goal is to take full control of the Donbas region and southern Ukraine, creating a land bridge between Russia proper and the Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, and possibly Transnistria, a Russian separatist breakaway region of Moldova on the Ukrainian border.
“Since the beginning of the second phase of the special operation, which has already begun just two days ago, one of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over Donbas and southern Ukraine,” Minnekayev said, in comments to Russian media quoted by the BBC.
“This will provide a land corridor to Crimea, as well as affect the vital facilities of the Ukrainian economy,” he added.
🇷🇺🇺 Briefing by Russian Defence Ministry (22.04.2022) ➡ https://t.co/CAVTSOmufA pic.twitter.com/RuypmBQWHS
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) April 22, 2022
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