Liz Truss says the West is 'stepping up' military aid for Ukraine

Liz Truss says the West is ‘stepping up’ military aid for Ukraine as Britain makes plans to supply armoured vehicles to forces battling Russia – as Kyiv’s foreign minister says the country needs ‘weapons, weapons and weapons’

  • Reports suggest the UK is planning to supply armoured fighting vehicles to Kyiv
  • Truss at Nato said West stepping up ‘in the face of Putin’s appalling aggression’ 
  • Ukraine’s foreign minister asked Nato to send all military equipment it needs 

The West is ‘stepping up’ military support for Ukraine, Liz Truss said today – as the country’s foreign minister pleaded for ‘weapons, weapons, and weapons ‘ to defeat Russia.

She spoke at Nato in Brussels this morning amid reports that the UK is planning to supply armoured fighting vehicles to Kyiv to push back Vladimir Putin’s forces.

The Ministry of Defence is said to be considering providing reconnaissance or long-range and protective patrol vehicles, such as the Mastiff or Jackal, the Times reported. 

‘In the face of Putin’s appalling aggression in Ukraine the G7 and Nato are stepping up our efforts on sanctions and on weapons,’ Ms Truss said at Nato headquarters.

‘The UK is now banning all imports of Russian energy, we are sanctioning more banks and we are stepping up our supply of weapons to Ukraine.’

Additional support – which is likely to include anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles – is also expected to be announced in the coming days. It is hoped this will help to enable Ukrainian troops to push towards Russian lines.

She spoke at Nato in Brussels this morning amid reports that the UK is planning to supply armoured fighting vehicles to Kyiv to push back Vladimir Putin’s forces.

 The Ministry of Defence is said to be considering providing reconnaissance or long-range and protective patrol vehicles, such as the Mastiff (pictured)  or Jackal, the Times reported.

‘In the face of Putin’s appalling aggression in Ukraine the G7 and Nato are stepping up our efforts on sanctions and on weapons,’ Ms Truss said at Nato headquarters.

Ukraine could ‘break’ the Russian army if it was given enough weapons from Western allies, British government sources have claimed.

Last night, intelligence chiefs told The Times there is a more positive mood on the Ukrainian side with a belief that the Russian army is ‘exhausted’ and could be pushed back with better weaponry.

The weaponry sought by the Ukrainians has been compiled into a shopping list and submitted to allies. It is believed to include aircraft, tanks, armoured vehicles, long range artillery, anti-ship missiles and air defence systems.

Today, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday called on Nato members to provide Kyiv with all the military equipment it needs to fight Russia. 

Mr Kuleba told reporters at the alliance’s headquarters: ‘My agenda is very simple, it has only three items on it: weapons, weapons and weapons.

‘We are confident that the best way to help Ukraine now is to provide it with all necessary (weapons) to contain Putin and to defeat the Russian army in the territory of Ukraine so the war does not spill over further.

‘In recent weeks the Ukrainian army and the entire Ukrainian nation has demonstrated that we know how to fight, we know how to win, but without sustainable and sufficient supplies of all weapons requested by Ukraine, these wins will be accompanied by enormous sacrifices.’

He suggested an increased supply of arms could help prevent further atrocities such as the slaughter of civilians in the town of Bucha, close to Kyiv.

The next three weeks are thought to be crucial in deciding the outcome of the war.  

It comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Moscow is trying to push deeper into the country’s east, where the Kremlin has said its goal is to ‘liberate’ the Donbas, Ukraine’s mostly Russian-speaking industrial heartland. 

The Ukrainian leader called for more weapons to stop Russia taking Donbas. 

In a video message on the Telegram app he said: ‘If there is no really painful package of sanctions against Russia and if there is no supply of weapons we really need and have applied for many times, it will be considered by Russia as a permission. 

‘A permission to go further. A permission to attack. A permission to start a new bloody wave in Donbas.’   

Kuleba said economic powerhouse Germany ‘can do more’ as he criticised allies that remain reluctant to send so-called ‘offensive’ arms.

‘This distinction between defensive and offensive doesn’t make any sense when it comes to the situation in my country.

‘Those countries who are saying we will provide Ukraine with defensive weapons, but we are not in a position to provide them with offensive weapons – they are hypocritical, this is simply unfair, unjustified approach.’

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said he was certain that allies would ‘address the need for more air defence systems, anti-tank weapons, lighter, but also heavier weapons and many different types of support to Ukraine’.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Berlin was ‘looking closely with our partners how we can support Ukraine in the future, more intensively and more coordinated because they have a right of self-defence.’

Ukrainian authorities urged people living in the Donbas to evacuate now, ahead of an impending Russian offensive.

‘Later, people will come under fire,’ Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, ‘and we won’t be able to do anything to help them.’ 

Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at the Chatham House think tank, added that better weapons could help Ukraine push back the Russians. 

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg today warned the war in Ukraine could last ‘months, even years’ as there is no sign Vladimir Putin has lost ‘his ambition to control the whole country’

He told the Times: ‘What has been supplied publicly in terms of weapons shipments are primarily weapons that would assist Ukraine in not losing the war and conducting defensive operations against Russian advances.

 ‘A new phase where Russia is on the back foot in multiple areas – which Ukraine needs to exploit — would suggest that the most relevant weaponry to be supplied might now be in different categories.’ 

Several BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, howitzer artillery pieces and more than a dozen T-72 tanks were yesterday loaded on a train bound for Slovakia where they are expected to head on to Ukraine, footage run by public broadcaster Czech Television showed.    

Members of the trans-Atlantic alliance had until today given Ukraine only anti-tank and anti-craft missiles, small arms and protective equipment, but not offered heavy armour or fighter jets (pictured, destruction wreaked by Russian forces in Borodyanka)

A car is seen riddled with bullet holes on the street on April 5, 2022 in Bucha, Ukraine. Milley said the war in Ukraine could last for years

Chief Stoltenberg said the international community should be ‘realistic’ about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s (pictured) intentions and ‘realise that this may last for a long time’ as the war entered its 41st day

The Czech delivery has been funded by Prague as well as private donors who have contributed to a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to supply arms to Kyiv. 

Ukraine burns through in a single day the same amount of weaponry it receives in a week, according to a senior Polish official, and Kyiv’s eastern neighbours are concerned with keeping up with demand.  

Prague, and neighbouring Slovakia which has no tanks to give, are also considering helping repair and refit damaged Ukrainian military equipment. Germany will send several dozen infantry fighting vehicles to Kyiv and the UK has approved the delivery of 20 ambulances.  

The United States has agreed to provide an additional $100 million in assistance to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-armour systems, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. US chipmaker Intel Corp said it had suspended business operations in Russia, joining a growing list of companies leaving the country.   

NATO has already supplied fuel, ammunition, helmets, protective gear and medical supplies to Ukraine, Stoltenberg said yesterday. 

President Joe Biden has in recent weeks ordered more US troops to NATO’s eastern flank to reassure edgy allies and pledged to protect the bloc’s territory if Russian forces stray over more borders. 

The Czech Republic has become the first NATO country to send tanks to Ukraine, providing T-72 and armoured infantry vehicles following President Zelensky’s plea for help (pictured, tanks loaded on a train bound for Ukraine on Tuesday)

Several BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles (pictured) and more than a dozen T-72 tanks were yesterday loaded on a train bound for Ukraine, footage published by Czech Television showed

The Czech delivery of T-72s (pictured) has been funded by Prague as well as private donors who have contributed to a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to supply arms to Kyiv

Zelensky accused the West of holding back on supplies because of ‘intimidation’ from Moscow and suggested Russia is in charge of NATO 

Ukrainian servicemen inspect the wreckage of houses, cars and Russian military vehicles in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, yesterday

Field engineers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine stand next to destroyed armoured vehicles on a street in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, April 5, 2022

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