British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has clarified that the UK has no immediate plans to send military instructors to Ukraine to train local troops. Sunak’s statement came in response to comments made by Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, which were reportedly misinterpreted by some media outlets.
During a visit to Burnley on Sunday, Sunak emphasized that Shapps did not mean British soldiers would be deployed in Ukraine during the conflict with Russia. He reiterated that the UK has been conducting training for Ukrainian soldiers on British soil for a long time.
Sunak clarified that Shapps actually meant that it might be possible in the future for the UK to conduct some of the training in Ukraine. However, he stressed that this was a long-term prospect and not something that was happening at the present moment. He asserted that no British soldiers would be sent to fight in the current conflict.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the UK is currently providing military training to the Ukrainians within the UK itself. He assured that there are no immediate plans to change this arrangement.
Shapps had previously stated that he was discussing with British military chiefs the possibility of bringing the training closer to Ukraine and actually conducting it within the country. He mentioned western Ukraine as a potential location for such training, along with the possibility of British defense firms launching production there.
The Defense Secretary’s comments received criticism from various quarters. Dmitry Medvedev, the current deputy head of Russia’s Security Council and former Russian president, called Shapps a “cretin” and warned that deploying British instructors to Ukraine could trigger World War III. Medvedev even declared that Russian troops would consider British servicemen as legitimate targets and would destroy them mercilessly.
US Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene also expressed alarm at the prospect of British troops being sent to Ukraine. She stated on social media that such a deployment could lead to World War III and emphasized that the US should not participate in it.
It is worth noting that Moscow has consistently argued that the provision of arms, intelligence-sharing, and training for Ukrainian troops by Western nations already makes them de facto parties to the conflict that began in Ukraine in 2022.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has clarified that the UK has no current plans to send military instructors to Ukraine. He emphasized that the UK is already providing training to Ukrainian soldiers on British soil and that any future training in Ukraine would be a long-term possibility. The Defense Secretary’s comments drew criticism from Russian officials and US congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who expressed concerns about the potential consequences of such a deployment.