Ukraine-Russia: UK to send more weapons for defence against Russian invasion

The UK will send more weapons to Ukraine to help it defend against Russia’s invasion, the defence secretary has said.

Ben Wallace announced more multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) would be sent to the eastern European nation, as well as precision guided M31A1 missiles which can strike targets up to 50 miles away, designed to defend against Russian heavy artillery.

Mr Wallace said: “This latest tranche of military support will enable the armed forces of Ukraine to continue to defend against Russian aggression and the indiscriminate use of long-range artillery.

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“Our continued support sends a very clear message – Britain and the international community remain opposed to this illegal war and will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, providing defensive military aid to Ukraine to help them defend against Putin’s invasion.”

A Russian rocket launched toward Ukraine from Russia's Belgorod region is seen at dawn in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Picture: AP Photo/Vadim Belikov

Ukrainian troops have been trained in the UK on how to use the launchers. The UK has also committed to training 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in infantry battlefield skills over coming months.

Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands have all announced they will be supporting the programme.

The Defence Secretary will co-host the Copenhagen Conference for Northern European Defence Allies of Ukraine on Thursday, to discuss long-term support for Ukraine on training, equipment, and funding.

The UK has previously supplied Ukraine with various weapons, including the NLAW anti-tank missile launcher, which was considered instrumental in the initial defence against Moscow’s invasion.

It comes as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western nations to provide more money to help Ukraine’s military keep fighting Russia.

“The sooner we stop Russia, the sooner we can feel safe,” Mr Zelensky said while addressing defence leaders at a Denmark conference aimed at strengthening financing for weapons, training and demining work in his country.

“We need armaments, munitions for our defence.”Satellite images have meanwhile shown at least seven fighter planes at an airbase in Crimea have been blown up after an apparent Ukrainian attack on the base.

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Ukraine said nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in a string of explosions that appeared to be the result of a Ukrainian attack, which would represent a significant escalation in the war.

Russia denied any aircraft were damaged in Tuesday’s blasts — or that any attack took place. But satellite photos clearly showed at least seven fighter planes at the base had been blown up and others probably damaged.

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