Britain will soon deliver multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine in response to its request for heavy arms to repel the Russian invasion, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Wednesday.
Following in the footsteps of the United States, London had announced on June 6 that it would send Ukraine its Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, which has better range and precision than Russia’s artillery.
“I think it’s imminent, their delivery, and the munition has to go alongside”, Wallace told reporters in Oslo on the sidelines of a meeting of the Joint Expeditionary Force grouping 10 Northern European countries.
Kyiv, whose forces are struggling to defend the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, has repeatedly called on its allies to provide more heavy weaponry.
On Tuesday, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Ganna Maliar said the country had only received “around 10 percent” of the arms it needed.
In addition to the multiple-launch rocket systems, Wallace said Britain was also considering sending Harpoon anti-ship missiles, which he said Denmark and the Netherlands had also promised.
Norway’s Defence Minister Bjorn Arild Gram, speaking alongside Wallace, said Oslo was also “considering further donations” to Ukraine, in addition to the 22 M-109 howitzers, a hundred or so Mistral anti-air missiles and around 4,000 M72 anti-tank weapons it has already provided.
Their remarks came just hours before a meeting in Brussels of “almost 50 countries”, according to the US ambassador to NATO, to discuss military aid to Ukraine together with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
West must ‘intensify’ arms supplies to Ukraine: US defence chief
Brussels (AFP) June 15, 2022 –
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged allies Wednesday to step up arms deliveries to Ukraine as Kyiv pleads desperately for heavier weapons to hold back Russia’s invasion.
“We can’t afford to let up and we can’t lose steam. The stakes are too high. Ukraine is facing a pivotal moment on the battlefield,” Austin said at a meeting in Brussels with some 50 countries backing Ukraine.
“We must intensify our shared commitment to Ukraine’s self defence, and we must push ourselves even harder to ensure that Ukraine can defend itself, its citizens and its territory.”
Austin said that Moscow’s attack on its pro-Western neighbour “isn’t just a danger to Ukraine — it’s a menace to European security”.
“So we must continue to rise to meet this challenge,” he said, sitting next to Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov.
The West has poured major supplies of arms into Ukraine to help it fight the Kremlin forces but Ukraine complains it has only received a fraction of what it needs and is clamouring for heavier weaponry.
Austin said Washington and Kyiv were “working in lockstep to meet Ukraine’s requests for new capabilities, especially its need for long-range fires, armour and coastal defence.”
He said deliveries of longer-range Himars rocket artillery and similar systems from Britain would “significantly boost Ukraine’s capability”.
In addition NATO allies, including the US, were providing training to Kyiv’s forces to handle the modern weaponry.
“So we’ve got a lot done thus far, but we don’t have any time to waste,” he said.
“We’re here to dig in our spurs. We’re going to deepen our support for the Ukrainian armed forces in today’s fight.”
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