Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Britain has signed 15-Year Defense Deal With Ukraine

March 23, 2016 (Sputnik News) Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces Penny Mordaunt signed a new defense agreement. According to Mordaunt, the UK agreed to double its assistance to the Ukrainian defense ministry. In the past year, about 2,000 members of the Ukrainian army has been trained by the UK military instructors. Ukraine also received over $1.4 million worth of equipment from the UK. The agreement provides for an increase in the number of joint training missions, the British military experts, along with enhanced sharing of intelligence data and expertise. Britain will also supply Ukraine's army with new military equipment to help Kiev's forces in its conflict with separatist groups in the country's east. The equipment, which consists of $1.3 million (£850,000) in non-lethal military aid, comes as on the back of a request from Kiev officials. The package includes first aid kits, night vision goggles, laptops, helmets and GPS units. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the latest announcement was in reaction to what he perceived as "Russia's aggression" in the Ukrainian conflict.

"The UK is committed to supporting Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity in the face of Russia's aggression." Britain, along with the US and EU, has accused Russia of interfering with the Ukrainian conflict, and providing military assistance to separatist groups in the country's east. However Moscow has continually denied these claims. The latest delivery of non-lethal military equipment follows last week's announcement that the UK will send 75 military advisors and trainers to Ukraine to provide assistance to local forces. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed the forces would not be engaging in military combat but would be providing military assistance and logistical advice to Kiev government forces. "We are providing non-lethal assistance that has been requested by the Ukrainian Government to enhance the capability of their armed forces and to attempt to reduce the number of fatalities and casualties that they have suffered," said Fallon.