Ukraine’s deputy minister of defense thanks UK for delivery of anti-tank weapons
A new batch of military aid recently delivered from the United Kingdom will help Ukraine bolster it defenses against a possible Russian invasion, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister for European Integration Anatoliy Petrenko said on Jan. 18 in a press statement.
Petrenko thanked the U.K. authorities for the aid, saying the weapons would only be used for purposes of defense.
“This assistance will be used exclusively for defense purposes, to protect our troops, critical infrastructure and civilians from any manifestations, any actions that could lead to an escalation,” the deputy minister said.
Earlier, Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov wrote on his Facebook page that British military transport planes had begun delivering NLAW short-range fire-and-forget anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine. The weapons are considered among the best in the world of their type.
U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the U.K. parliament on Jan. 17 about the decision to send Ukraine defensive weapons.
“We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armor defensive weapon systems,” Wallace said, noting that the weapons to be supplied to Ukraine were not strategic and posed no threat to Russia. He said they are to be used strictly in self-defense.
On Jan. 14, the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper and the U.S.-based CNN news channel reported that Russia had positioned covert operatives in Ukraine to carry out a “false flag” operation to use as a pretext for a Russian attack.
Later, the U.S. Department of Defense and the White House confirmed that the United States has evidence that Russia could be planning to conduct various false flag operations in the Donbas region.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said on Jan. 10 that during crisis talks with the United States held in Geneva, Switzerland, he had assured U.S. representatives that Russia “is not going to attack” Ukraine.
However, no actual guarantees were provided beyond the minister’s word.
Russia has been massing troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border since late October. The buildup follows a similar massing of troops conducted in the spring of 2021.
As of early December, about 100,000 Russian soldiers were deployed near the Russian-Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories in the Donbas, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in Ukraine’s parliament on Dec. 3.
International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 175,000 Russian soldiers.
Both U.S. and European officials have expressed concern over the situation. U.S. President Joe Biden in December declared that the White House was working out “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.”
Reznikov said Russian aggression towards Ukraine could intensify in late January 2022.
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