Britain has sent defensive weapons to Ukraine amid growing fears that Russia could invade its former Soviet neighbor, which is seeking Western military aid.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told parliament that London had delivered a small number of anti-armour defensive weapon systems as well as a small number of training staff.
“This support is for short range and clearly defensive weapon capabilities; they are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia,“Wallace said.
Canada also sent a small contingent of its special forces to Ukraine on Jan. 9, the country’s broadcaster Global News reported, citing unnamed sources.
Neither the UK nor Canada has specified the number of arms and troops sent to Ukraine.
Kiev has asked Western governments for additional arms supplies in the face of the threat of an invasion from Moscow after security talks between Russia and the United States, NATO and the OSCE ended without a breakthrough last week. last.
Following the talks, Russia demanded that the United States and NATO provide a written response to its list of security assurances early this week. The demands – which Washington and NATO have rejected – include barring Ukraine from joining NATO and withdrawing troops and weapons from the Western military alliance from Eastern Europe.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Friday that the deployment of NATO attack weapons in Ukraine would cross “another red linefor Moscow.
The White House warned last week that the Kremlin – which has around 100,000 troops camped on the Ukrainian border – was working to create a false pretext to attack. Lavrov dismissed the allegation of “total misinformation”.
Fears of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine have been heightened by a cyberattack on Kyiv government websites by unknown hackers; the announcement by Belarus of joint military exercises with Russia near the Ukrainian border; and a New York Times report that Russia nearly emptied its embassy in Kyiv earlier this month.
The Russian Foreign Ministry denied the information from the New York Times.
British Defense Secretary Wallace said on Monday he had invited Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to visit London as Western governments seek a diplomatic exit ramp.