Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said that the United Kingdom stands firmly alongside Ukraine as the British Army prepares to broaden its already extended training package to all of the country’s armed forces.
Speaking in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, on his second trip to the country in 18 months, Sir Michael said that the UK is beginning to deliver training to Ukraine’s Air Force as well as its Army and Navy.
Meeting with Defence Minister of Ukraine, General of the Army Stepan Poltorak, the Defence Secretary confirmed that the UK’s short-term training teams (STTTs) will have trained 5,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the end of March - 1,000 more than initially planned - and will now continue in their training role for another year.
The Defence Secretary also agreed to explore how Britain’s training efforts in Ukraine could be maximised to produce long-term benefits on the ground, delivering a more comprehensive approach including by Train the Trainer (T3). Moving to this method of training would entrench the impact of Britain’s support within Ukraine’s armed forces for years to come.
Furthermore, Britain will continue its commitment to support defence reform in Ukraine via the UK defence section. As part of his visit the Defence Secretary will meet the UK Special Defence Advisor in Kyiv and Ukraine’s Defence Reform Office who are working hand-in-hand to continue reforms and support further anti-corruption efforts.
Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon said:
The values of freedom and democracy cannot be traded.
Britain is stepping up on the global stage and standing firm with our Ukrainian friends.
The UK is sending a clear message that we are committed to defending democracy across the world and support Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
During his visit, Sir Michael met with Ukrainian veterans to hear first-hand how the UK’s training provides vital support for the UAF. In December he confirmed that the training programme, named Op Orbital, would be extended meaning UK forces will be in the country until at least 2018. As the UK extends its training, a new regiment – 4 SCOTS – will take over dedicated delivery of the infantry short-term training.
Later in his visit, which marks the 25-year anniversary of UK-Ukrainian diplomatic relations, the Defence Secretary also visited the ATO Memorial inside the National Defence University to pay tribute to the 127 soldiers killed in the East of the country in 2014-2015.
The Defence Secretary also spoke about how the UK is a partner in prosperity with Ukraine. He met with staff of the Antonov National Company, the Ukrainian aircraft manufacturers company. British equipment from operations in Afghanistan and now in Iraq has been transported using Antonov aircraft and Dowty Propellers, based in the UK, has started component deliveries for propeller systems that will equip a demonstrator for the company’s new AN-132 twin-engine transport aircraft.