More British troops will head to Ukraine to ‘defend democracy’ – Williamson set to announce
– First published … November 21, 2018 –
The build up of forces in the eastern European country is to defend “freedom and democracy,” according to Williamson.
“As long as Ukraine faces Russian hostilities, it will find a steadfast partner in the United Kingdom,” the Defence Secretary will say according to the Tory-supporting Telegraph, who have apparently been provided with access to Williamson’s speech.
“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,”Williamson is expected to say.
The HMS Echo, a hydrographic survey ship with a crew of 72, will be sent to the region, while Ukrainian Special Forces are set to be trained by their British counterparts.
Some 100 British personnel are currently in Ukraine, reportedly on a training mission in the western city of Lviv and central city of Dnipro, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
The UK has reportedly trained some 10,000 Ukrainian troops since 2015, in areas such as logistics and identification of improvised explosive devices.
Williamson has been steadfast in his support for Ukraine. During a visit to the country in September, the Defence Secretary – who notoriously told Russia “to go away and shut up” – pledged UK support to the country.
UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson the latest Western official to visit the frontline of the war in eastern Ukraine. Photos via Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation.
The number of new troops will be subject to Ukrainian requirements, with the Telegraph reporting that it’s likely to total some 30 soldiers from the Army and Royal Marines. The new round of training is set to include the skills of mortar planning and counter-sniping.