The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington): The UK is committed to supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The situation in eastern Ukraine remains extremely fragile despite the Minsk Protocol, including a ceasefire agreement, being signed on 5 September. We are seeing daily outbreaks of violence which have led to over 50 Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) fatalities since the ceasefire began. Some progress has been made including the withdrawal of several thousand Russian regular troops, but we estimate a few hundred remain. The UAF are facing a chronic shortage of basic equipment which will become more acute when winter sets in. Our non-lethal equipment package is defensive and designed to prevent further UAF fatalities and casualties.
It will be funded by the Government’s Conflict Pool fund (FCO, MoD and DFID). It is in response to a direct request from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF). The Defence Attaché’s Office at the British Embassy in Kyiv has designed the package in close cooperation with the UAF. It has also been carried out in close coordination with other donors (US, Canada and France), who are providing similar equipment.
The Departmental Minute laid today therefore sets out our intention to gift a package of £840,300 of equipment to the Ukraine Armed Forces. The proposed gift will consist of the following UK-sourced equipment:
- 1000 sets of body armour (NIJ level IV) and helmets (NIJ Level IIIA): £408,000
- 80 Medical kits (for vehicles): £52,800
- 500 sets of winterisation equipment (winter clothing/ sleeping bags): £314,500
- 500 Ponchos: £10,000
- Transport and clearance: £55,000
The proposed gift has been assessed against the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. The proposed gift has been scrutinised and approved by a senior, cross-Whitehall Conflict Pool Approval Board, which has confirmed that it fits with the Government’s strategic and delivery objectives. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials also assessed the project for human rights risks, using the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance guidelines established by the Foreign Secretary in 2011. They concluded that the risk of human rights violations arising from the project’s delivery could be successfully mitigated.
The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of fourteen parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this Minute was laid before the House of Commons, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or of a Motion relating to the Minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.