Saturday, April 20, 2024

UK sources say Kiev ‘disappointed’ with London over war with Moscow

Ukraine is “disappointed with Britain’s stance” on the conflict with Russia, sources in the UK defense sector have told the Daily Mail.

The UK is being overtaken by Germany and the Nordic states as Ukraine’s leading European backers, the industry operatives, who wished to remain anonymous, told the news outlet in an article published on Wednesday.

The sources also griped that Britain’s leaders are not coming across as bellicose enough compared to French President Emmanuel Macron, who has publicly refused to rule out deploying troops to Ukraine.

“The UK was the first country to give NLAW anti-tank rocket launchers, the first country to pledge tanks, so we received some leeway from Kiev,” one of the sources said.

“But we are not pushing through capability thresholds any more. We’ve spent our political capital with [Ukrainian President] Volodymyr Zelensky and we are not spending enough on military aid.”

“The Ukrainians are disappointed with Britain’s stance at the moment. Germany has also told the UK it has to do more. From where we once were, it is galling to be told that,” they added.

The UK has delivered less than €5 billion ($5.4 billion) in military aid to Ukraine since 2022, while Germany has sent €9.36 billion and the Scandinavian states – Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway – have sent a combined €9.12 billion, according to a report from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. When promises of future aid are fulfilled, the UK will have sent €9.12 billion, while Germany will have delivered €17.7 billion.

The identity of the Daily Mail’s sources is unclear, as is the veracity of their comments. The Mail has openly lobbied the British government to increase military spending before, most recently when it announced its ‘Don’t Leave Britain Defenceless’ campaign earlier this month. Backed by a number of hawkish former defense chiefs, the campaign calls on the government to spend 2.5% of the UK’s GDP on its military, up from 2% at present.

Speaking at a NATO summit last July, Britain’s then-defense minister, Ben Wallace, complained that London would like “to see a bit of gratitude” from Kiev for the military aid sent by the UK. Wallace’s comments were sarcastically dismissed by Zelensky, before the minister walked them back and insisted that he was not speaking for himself, but for “citizens and MPs across the international community”.

“The UK continues to lead military support for Ukraine as the first country to provide lethal aid as well as the first to provide Western main battle tanks and long-range precision strike capability,” the British Defense Ministry told the Daily Mail.

“We have committed more than £7 billion [$8.8 billion] of military support to Ukraine, including £2.5 billion in 2024/25.”

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