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Rishi Sunak refutes Defence Secretary’s statement on sending British military instructors to Ukraine

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that there were no plans to send military instructors to Ukraine in the near future, after Defence Secretary Grant Shapps suggested that British troops could carry out training there.

Grant Shapps, who was appointed as UK Defence Secretary last month, said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph that he would like to send military instructors to Ukraine in addition to training Ukrainian soldiers in the UK and other Western countries.

However, a few hours after the interview had been published, Sunak stated that he had no immediate plans to send British troops to Ukraine.

“What the Defence Secretary was saying was that it might well be possible one day in the future for us to do some of that training in Ukraine. But that’s something for the long term, not the here and now. There are no British soldiers that will be sent to fight in the current conflict.”

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that any British soldiers training Ukrainian troops in Ukraine would be legal targets for Russian forces.

Over the past year, the UK has provided five-week military training courses to around 20,000 Ukrainians and intends to train the same number in the future.

Shapps stated in an interview about the possibility of offering military training in Ukraine after discussing the issue with British military leaders on Friday.

I was talking today about eventually getting the training brought closer and actually into Ukraine as well. Particularly in the west of the country, I think the opportunity now is to bring more things ‘in country.’

Shapps expressed hope that British defence companies such as BAE Systems (BAES.L) would go ahead with plans to establish weapons factories in Ukraine. He said the war in Ukraine was consuming weapons and men at an “appalling rate” but “we must remain steadfast” in supporting the country in its war against Russia.

The minister also announced the dispatch of a hundred British peacekeepers to Kosovo in the coming days following an armed clash in the north of the country.

British fighter jets were also sent to Poland this weekend to secure NATO’s eastern flank at the request of the Polish government ahead of the country’s national elections this month, Shapps reported.

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