British Foreign Secretary Truss Calls For Delivery of Heavy Weapons, Tanks, Warplanes to Ukraine
10:12 GMT 28.04.2022 (Updated: 15:19 GMT 28.05.2023)
The past few months have seen the UK and its NATO allies send billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment to Ukraine, including heavy military hardware and thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile systems.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has called for sending "heavy weapons, tanks and aeroplanes" to Ukraine amid Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in the country.
Speaking at an event at Mansion House on Wednesday evening, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Western allies, including the UK, must "double down" and "keep going further and faster" to "push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine".
She said that “Ukraine’s victory is a strategic imperative for all” Western countries, vowing “to ramp up production” and stressing the need to deliver “heavy weapons, tanks, [and] aeroplanes” to Kiev.
The British foreign secretary added that “when the guns finally fall silent in Ukraine”, it’s necessary to make sure Kiev “has the resources it needs to maintain security, deter further attacks, and rebuild”.
Truss stated that this is the reason the UK is “working” on its “joint commission with Poland to ensure Ukraine is equipped with NATO-standard weapons”.
“Some argue we shouldn’t provide heavy weapons [to Ukraine] for fear of provoking something worse. But my view, is that inaction would be the greatest provocation. This is a time for courage, not for caution,” the top UK diplomat said.
She spoke after the UK tabloid Express quoted unnamed sources as saying earlier this week that Britain plans to send 20 AS-90 self-propelled howitzers and 45,000 shells to Ukraine.
The sources claimed that the howitzers and the shells would be delivered to Poland, where Ukrainian forces will be trained in their use and maintenance, before being shipped off to Ukraine.
The UK is one of several NATO members which have vowed to send heavy weaponry to Ukraine over the past several weeks. France promised to send its 155 mm Caesar six-wheel truck chassis-mounted howitzers and thousands of shells, while the US committed to deliver its M119A3 towed howitzers, Cold War-era M-113 armoured personnel carriers, and Mi-17 helicopters to Kiev.
Earlier this month, Moscow sent a note to Washington, urging the US and its allies “to stop the irresponsible militarisation of Ukraine, which implies unpredictable consequences for regional and international security”.
19 April 2022, 14:45 GMT
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, emphasised that Moscow supports a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine crisis, but talks are unlikely to succeed if Kiev sticks with its present course and continues to be pumped up with weapons from Western countries.
The statement was echoed by Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, who underlined that “it is extremely important that Western countries stop adding fuel to the fire by pumping Kiev’s regime with weapons”.
In late February, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that arms supplies to Ukraine “can and will become an extremely dangerous and destabilising factor, which will never contribute to either stability in Ukraine or the restoration of order there”.
CNN has meanwhile cited unnamed US officials as warning of the risk that in the long term, some of the weapons supplied by Washington to Ukraine “may wind up in the hands of other militaries and militias that the US did not intend to arm”.
This unfolds as Russia continues its special military operation to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" Ukraine, which was announced by President Vladimir Putin on 24 February following the request by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic amid intensifying shelling by the Ukrainian army. The Russian Defence Ministry has repeatedly stressed that the operation only aims to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure with high-precision weapons.