UK Risks Russian Retaliation As It Sends Warship To Ukraine

LONDON, England -- THE UK will expand its military presence in the Ukraine as tensions increase with Russia, the Defence Secretary will announce today.


UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (R).

Britain will be sending additional troops and a Royal Navy ship into eastern Europe “as long as Ukraine faces Russian hostilities”.

Russia and Ukraine have been in conflict ever since the Kremlin regained control on Crimea in 2014, with 11,000 lives lost so far during the conflict.

Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, will say: “As long as Ukraine faces Russian hostilities, it will find a steadfast partner in the United Kingdom.

“By continuing to work together, whether through training programmes or military exercises, we help Ukraine to stand up for our shared values.

“Those values of freedom and democracy cannot be traded. I have witnessed on the frontline the effects of the war in the East and this has completely reinforced my support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”

The UK is expected to send an extra 30 soldiers from the Army and Royal Marines to the region in 2019.

There are currently more than 100 military personnel in the country training Ukrainian forces as part of Operation Orbital, with 9,500 troops trained since 2015.

However the deployment does not come without risk of Russian retaliation if Britain does anything else other than training, according to a British defence and security think tank.

Emily Ferris from the Royal United Services Institute told the Telegraph: “Training would be deemed acceptable, but anything more substantive and Russia would be forced to respond in some way.

“Troops on the ground are always the most aggressive scenario. Ukraine is an area of Russia’s strategic interest, training would not be too bad.

“However, it would be quite a serious escalation if British naval forces started amassing near Azov. That would be seen as quite aggressive by Russia and it would have to respond to that.”

Both Russia and Ukraine share the Sea of Azov, with both sides accusing the other of detaining each other’s ships illegally.

Colonel Marcus Evans, Commander of Operation ORBITAL, the UK assistance to Ukraine, stated as “threats to Ukraine evolve” the training becomes more important.

Colonel Evans said: “Since 2015, the UK has been helping to build the capacity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF). 

"But as the threats to Ukraine evolve, our support must also adapt and change.

“Having deployed various training teams across Ukraine in 2018, the plan for 2019 will include new support to the Ukrainian Navy and Marines.

“Having been in Ukraine for several months, it is clear to me that Ukraine values our support and the British soldiers on Operation ORBITAL have great respect for the passion and combat experience of their Ukrainian counterparts.”

Mr Williamson visited Ukraine in September this year and spoke of the “brutal conflict” and reaffirmed the nation has the UK’s support.

He said: “I witnessed first-hand the suffering caused by the brutal conflict in eastern Ukraine - a conflict that is being prolonged by the Russian-backed separatists.

“By extending and expanding our training programmes, we are sending a clear message - we support the people of Ukraine and are firmly committed to its sovereignty as it faces down blatant Russian aggression.”

Source: Express

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