The UK has finalized a deal with Ukraine that allows Kiev to purchase British warships and missiles to boost its naval capabilities, a move Russia will likely see as yet another provocation as tensions continue to rise. grow between the two countries.
Under the agreement, Kiev can use a 1.7 billion pounds london ready to buy two minesweepers and weapons for existing ships, and jointly produce eight missile ships, a frigate and a naval base on the Sea of ââAzov.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Yuriyovych Reznikov, said: “Our governments have no desire to be hostile or to try to strategically surround or undermine the Russian Federation in any way “, but added that” We are concerned about the strengthening of the military presence and military activity of Russia on the border with Ukraine “.
The two defense ministers stressed that “Ukraine and the United Kingdom are strategic partners in security and defense”.
They said “Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is indisputable,” adding that the UK will continue “its long-standing determination” to support the Ukrainian people.
The statement was released after Wallace met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during his visit to Kiev earlier today, in support of Ukraine amid growing concerns over Russia’s increased military presence at the borders the country and as tensions between Moscow and NATO countries have intensified. .
Ukraine has been vigorously strengthening its ties with the West since 2014, when an armed conflict erupted in its eastern Donbas region between government forces and ethnic Russians.
The United States, the European Union and Ukraine claim that Russia is involved in the conflict. Moscow strongly rejects the allegation.
Also in 2014, the Black Sea Peninsula in Crimea voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty, further complicating relations between Moscow and Kiev. The US and the EU sided with Ukraine and refused to recognize the referendum results. They also imposed rounds of sanctions on Russia.
In September, Zelensky claimed all-out war with neighboring Russia was a “possibility” after Moscow and Belarus staged large-scale military exercises.
That same month, the United States pledged $ 60 million in new military and security aid to Ukraine. Russia denounced the move, saying Kiev could therefore behave in an unpredictable and dangerous manner and that this “can only be a cause of regret”.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but its allies have pledged to support the country against Russia.
The latest treaty will allow Ukraine to enter into a financing deal with UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, allowing it to receive sustained funding for contracts with UK suppliers.