Grant Shapps pledges more military support during first meeting on Ukraine

He pledged the UK’s 'unwavering commitment' to Kyiv during meeting of Ukraine Defence Contact Group at Ramstein air base in Germany

Britain's Defence Secretary Grant Shapps leaves Number 10 Downing Street in London. AFP
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UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps agreed on Tuesday to provide Ukraine with tens of thousands more artillery shells as he met his new Ukrainian counterpart for the first time.

The Defence Secretary pledged the UK’s “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine as he attended the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group at the US Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany, alongside Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

Ministers and senior officials from about 50 countries met at the base to co-ordinate international support for the war-torn nation.

It marked Mr Shapps’s first meeting with Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov, who was promoted in a cabinet mini-reshuffle in August.

The UK has delivered more than 300,000 artillery shells to Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Defence.

“Today we’ve demonstrated the UK’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine and set out more military support, including pledging tens of thousands more artillery shells to enable Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked invasion and to retake illegally occupied territories,” Mr Shapps said following the meeting.

“To ensure Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself as we approach winter, we have also set out how the UK will go further in the coming months in our priority support areas, including air defence and long-range strike capabilities and training.”

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“With representatives from 50 nations gathered in Ramstein today, President [Vladimir] Putin should be worried,” Sir Tony said.

“This is a tangible demonstration of the international community’s continued resolve to back Ukraine with the military support it requires through the winter and into 2024.

“The United Kingdom will continue to work with our allies and partners to help build Ukraine’s long-term resilience so it can fulfil its potential as a secure and prosperous sovereign nation.”

Updated: September 19, 2023, 9:05 PM