Britain has run out of defense equipment to donate to Ukraine, a senior military chief has claimed as he urged other countries to step up and provide more support.
The military official said Ukraine now needs “air defense assets and artillery munitions” in the next phase of the war, supplies of which the United Kingdom has already “run out.”
“We’ve given away everything we can afford,” the source said. The Daily Telegraph.
It comes after former Defense Secretary Ben Wallace urged the Prime Minister to increase military support to Ukraine by more than £2bn (a 50 per cent increase).
The conservative veteran argued that with additional Western weapons, kyiv could “end” the battle against Russia and expel the invaders.
Commenting on Wallace’s call for more help, the source said it should not fall to the UK to provide the “billions” in military support required as they warned of depleting stocks.
Ukrainian servicemen from the Spartan Brigade of the Ukrainian National Guard prepare a shell for a D-30 howitzer in a front-line position, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, on September 13
Then-Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace speaks to the media during his visit to the Tapa military camp in Estonia on Thursday, January 19.
“Giving billions more does not mean giving billions of British equipment,” the source told the Telegraph, before claiming the UK needed to encourage “other nations to give more money and weapons”.
The military chief said the UK was already giving away everything it could afford.
writing for The Daily Telegraph On Sunday, Wallace – who stepped down from the defense role in a mini-shuffle in August – lamented that the UK was no longer Kiev’s biggest military backer in Europe, having fallen behind Germany.
Wallace’s call for additional resources to be sent to Ukraine comes as debate grows in the West over the level of support to continue offering the partially occupied nation.
On Monday, aid to Ukraine was omitted from the United States’ draft interim budget, potentially straining its powers as it fights the Russian invasion that began last February.
Democrats hope to pass a separate relief measure in the coming days, although it is unclear whether such a package would include the $24 billion that President Joe Biden had originally sought.
The election of a pro-Russian party in neighboring Slovakia also dealt Kiev another blow this week, as it also continues to dispute with Poland over grain supplies.
Ukrainian soldiers undergoing training at Camp Bovington, a British Army military base, pose with a Ukrainian flag, Feb. 22.
An Ajax Ares armored fighting vehicle, on the training ground at Camp Bovington, a British Army military base where the Ukrainian army receives training, on February 22.
Downing Street was forced to reiterate the British government’s commitment to Ukraine following Wallace’s request.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the UK’s commitment to Ukraine will not “waver”, as Downing Street downplayed Western divisions.
‘Our commitment to Ukraine is firm and will not waver. “They will continue to see that we provide substantial support,” the spokesperson said.
Asked about political disputes over Kiev funding in other countries, the official said: ‘Obviously, it is up to each country to decide what they believe is the appropriate level of support for them.
‘But overall, I don’t think there has been any step back in support for Ukraine. And after a substantial period of this illegal war, I believe (Vladimir) Putin faces a strong alliance of countries providing increasing levels of support for Ukrainian efforts.’
Until now, the UK has continued to provide military support to Ukraine in the form of ammunition and military training.
More than 23,500 recruits from Ukraine have received combat training at military bases across the UK since the beginning of 2022, receiving instruction in skills including weapons handling and battlefield first aid. Earlier this year, the British government pledged to train a further 20,000 recruits.
The training is part of a broader package of support for Ukraine that includes a pledge of 2.3 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) in anti-tank weapons, rocket systems and other hardware this year.
Ukrainian servicemen from the Spartan Brigade of the Ukrainian National Guard are in a shelter on the front line, in the middle of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia, on September 13.
Grant Shapps arrives at Downing Street as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asks him to serve as Defense Secretary, on August 31.
Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, who took over as Defense Secretary from Wallace, said he also spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in recent days about the Royal Navy helping to defend commercial ships in the Black Sea. He did not provide details.
He added that UK defense companies should consider setting up production in Ukraine.
‘Particularly in the west of the country, I think the opportunity now is to bring more things to the country, and not just training. We are seeing BAE, for example, move to domestic manufacturing,” he said, referring to Britain’s leading defense and aerospace manufacturer.
“I really want to see other British companies also do their bit and do the same.”