Britain to supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announces that the United Kingdom will provide Ukraine with "light and anti-tank defense systems."
During a standoff with Russia, Britain announced on Monday that it had begun sending Ukraine anti-tank weapons to assist it to "defend itself against an invasion." Western countries claim that Russia is planning for an invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow has denied any intentions for an attack but has warned that unless the West agrees to a list of demands, including barring Ukraine from ever joining NATO, it may take unspecified military action. Last week's talks between Russia and the US and NATO came to a halt due to a lack of progress.
"We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armor defensive weapon systems," British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament, adding that the first systems were delivered on Monday, according to the statement, and a small number of British employees will provide training for a limited time.
He didn't say how many or what kind of weapons were being provided, but he did claim that "they aren't strategic weapons, and they don't pose any danger to Russia. They're meant to be used for self-defense."
"These are short-range ... but nevertheless it would make people pause and think what they were doing and if tanks were to roll into Ukraine, invade it, then they would be part of the defense mechanism." Ukraine's Defense Minister welcomed Wallace's announcement.
"Ukraine highly appreciates Britain's decision to provide a new security package with light, anti-armor, defensive weapon systems!" Oleksii Reznikov said in a tweet.
Ukraine highly appreciates Britain’s decision to provide a new security package with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems! 🇺🇦🤝🇬🇧 Thanks to our friend @BWallaceMP for the great speech in the 🇬🇧 Parliament! pic.twitter.com/UTQf6VksaH— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) January 17, 2022
Wallace said he had invited Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to visit London in the coming weeks to talk about the problem, but he didn't know if the Russians would accept.
"The current gap is wide but not unbridgeable," Wallace said, voicing the hope that diplomacy would prevail and adding, "It is President (Vladimir) Putin’s choice."