Britain offers cold-weather gear to help Ukrainian troops through 'perilous winter'

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces donations of sleeping kits and 150 heated tents

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Britain has announced new military aid to help Ukrainian troops withstand winter, as the head of Nato watched them being trained on UK soil.

The donations promised by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak include 25,000 sets of extreme cold-weather clothing, 12,000 sleeping kits and 150 heated tents.

Another 7,000 sets of regular cold-weather kit are being sent home with Ukrainian recruits after their training at a camp in southern England.

Visiting the camp on Wednesday, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the UK was a "lead nation" in supporting Ukraine.

"I’m very grateful to the UK because this is really important, it makes a difference every day on the battlefield," he said.

"The UK supports Ukraine not only with equipment but with training, and the training I’ve seen here today by UK and Canadian trainers is extremely important, and I’m very grateful.”

It comes amid warnings from western officials that no end to the war is in sight as Russia and Ukraine dig in for winter.

Mr Sunak said Ukrainian forces “face a perilous winter fighting for their country”.

G7 countries are co-ordinating winter aid as Ukraine braces for a cold season compounded by Russian strikes on its energy networks.

Ukraine's power grid has been ravaged by Russian cruise missiles and kamikaze drone attacks, with about a third of its energy infrastructure believed to be damaged.

Rishi Sunak will meet Nato's Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday. Getty

“With winter fast approaching, this equipment will ensure that the armed forces of Ukraine are able to operate effectively through the next few months,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said of the new donations.

“Alongside our training programme and the provision of lethal aid, it demonstrates our commitment to making sure that the basic Ukrainian soldier is well trained, well equipped and given the best possible chance to fight and determine their own future.”

The extreme cold-weather gear will arrive in Ukraine by mid-December, the UK government said.

Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Latvia have all announced involvement in the training programme in Britain.

In a meeting at 10 Downing Street later on Wednesday, Mr Sunak and Mr Stoltenberg are expected to discuss an update to Britain's security blueprint to reflect the changed picture since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Kyiv hit by drones — in pictures

Mr Stoltenberg will be the first international leader to visit Downing Street since Mr Sunak replaced Liz Truss as prime minister.

“Nato is the cornerstone of our security, and the security of our allies. As the war in Ukraine continues to rage, we must not take peace at home for granted,” Mr Sunak said before the meeting.

“I am determined the UK will be the bedrock of Nato for generations to come. But in order to face the future challenges we must evolve as an alliance to meet, and remain ahead of, the threat from our adversaries.”

Nato's 30 members agreed after the invasion to bolster security on the eastern flank of the alliance and name Russia as the greatest threat to allied security.

Sweden and Finland are applying to become the 31st and 32nd Nato members. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was in Ankara on Tuesday in the hope of ending Turkish doubts over the application.

Updated: November 09, 2022, 2:53 PM
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