WPMNews.com – Britain is preparing to deploy a large number of Navy forces and ships to Ukraine to counter what London calls Russian “aggression”. At present, London has directed around 100 troops to the country.
Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said Britain was committed to deploying more troops and Royal Navy ships to Ukraine.
Williamson said, aside from being a direct response to Russia’s “aggression”, the military move was to defend the values of freedom and democracy.
The commitment was made when Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak visited London on Wednesday.
“As long as Ukraine faces Russia’s (with) hostility, it will find a strong partner in the UK,” Williamson told his partner.
The British Defense Ministry confirmed a number of unspecified troops would be sent to train special forces and Ukrainian marines early next year. The ministry confirmed that there were 100 London military personnel already deployed in Ukraine.
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While the British Navy ship, HMS Echo, with 72 crew will also be deployed to the Black Sea region.
“The presence of ships in the region is designed to show UK support to ensure freedom of navigation,” the ministry said.
The Ukrainian military has been involved in war in the east of the country since 2014. The Russian military has been accused of helping separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. However, the Kremlin denied it.
Williamson’s statement did not mention the number of additional troops and their location in Ukraine. However, it is likely that additional British forces will be sent near the Azov Sea which is currently the point of Moscow and Kiev’s feud.
Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat, said if the placement of additional British troops was deployed near the Azvoz Sea, there would be some potential for escalation.
“What Williamson said so far will not provoke a Russian invasion,” he said.
“The ship to be deployed will be part of ‘Operation Sea Breeze’, and it will also be a research vessel, not a destroyer like the US Navy sometimes sends,” he said.
“I think the statement was intended to disturb Moscow, but it has no meaning,” he added, as quoted by The Independent on Thursday (11/22/2018). [dn]