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UK donated 184,000 more artillery shells to Ukraine than planned, says Wallace

The Defence Secretary was outlining the extent of Britain’s support for the Ukrainian war effort against Russia.

Patrick Daly
Thursday 20 July 2023 15:30 BST
The UK was second only to the US in terms of international donors of military aid to Ukraine, the Government said (Ministry of Defence Crown copyright/PA)
The UK was second only to the US in terms of international donors of military aid to Ukraine, the Government said (Ministry of Defence Crown copyright/PA) (PA Media)

The UK has given Ukraine 184,000 more artillery shells than it planned to a year ago, the Defence Secretary said.

Ben Wallace said Britain had “donated significant quantities of military equipment, ammunitions and non-lethal aid” as Kyiv’s fighters defend their territory and look to expel Russian invaders.

He said there had been a 15-fold increase in the number of “critical” artillery shells sent to the eastern European nation, having initially planned to send 16,000 in 2022.

The struggle between Ukraine and Russia has seen both sides use heavy shelling tactics as troop positions have become more entrenched this year, particularly in the east of the country.

Kyiv has regularly called for more shells to be provided by western allies as it fights an enemy with a greater stockpile of artillery.

Setting out a list of what London had provided Ukraine with up to July 11, Mr Wallace said London had spent £2.3 billion on support for president Volodymyr Zelensky’s war effort between April 2022 and March 2023.

He said it put the UK only second to the US in terms of international donors of military aid to Ukraine, which is currently involved in counteroffensive skirmishes as it looks to retake its territory.

Mr Wallace said: “The delivery and provision of aid is dynamic and fast moving, responding to the priority needs of the armed forces of Ukraine.

“While in a small number of areas (notably anti-structure munitions and small arms) we have delivered less than anticipated, we have exceeded plans in critical capability areas such as artillery, responding with agility to Ukraine’s priorities and developments on the battlefield.

“For example, we have delivered over 15 times the quantity of artillery ammunition originally planned (over 200,000 compared to plans of 16,000 shells a year ago).”

He said that 4,000 units of ammunition had been sent to arm the 14 Challenger II tanks that Britain shipped to Ukraine at the start of the year.

We will not stand by as the Kremlin persists in its disregard for the sovereignty of Ukraine and international law

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

At least five million anti-personnel weapons, including mortars and grenades, had been donated, along with 1,500 anti-air weapons and 100 launchers for them.

The Ministry of Defence listed 12,000 ballistic vests and 80,000 helmets as having been supplied.

A total of £4 million had been spent on spare parts, tools and support kits for Kyiv’s military.

In terms of other aid, 70,000 units of food rations had been sent to Ukrainian soldiers, along with 65,000 items of clothing.

The UK remains firm in its support of Ukraine’s right of self-defence in the face of Russian aggression

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

In a written ministerial statement, Mr Wallace said the donated items had come from a mixture of UK defence stocks, procurement from the defence industry in the UK and overseas, and purchases of surplus equipment from foreign governments.

Some items had also been secured through co-ordinated international procurement through the UK-administered International Fund for Ukraine, Mr Wallace told MPs in his statement on Thursday.

The Conservative Defence Secretary, who this week confirmed he plans to step down from his Cabinet role at the next reshuffle — expected to happen in September — said that, for operational reasons, “we will not comment on the number of UK personnel in Ukraine, or their locations”.

He added: “We will not stand by as the Kremlin persists in its disregard for the sovereignty of Ukraine and international law.

“The UK remains firm in its support of Ukraine’s right of self-defence in the face of Russian aggression.”

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