Britain seeks to train military inside Ukraine, UK defense chief says – POLITICO

LONDON — Britain is in talks to move more training and production of military equipment into Ukraine, U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, which took place following a briefing with Chief of the General Staff Patrick Sanders on Friday, Shapps said he had been “talking today about eventually getting the training brought closer and actually into Ukraine as well.”

“Particularly in the west of the country, I think the opportunity now is to bring more things ‘in country,’ and not just training but also we’re seeing [U.K. defense firm] BAE, for example, move into manufacturing in country,” he said.

“I’m keen to see other British companies do their bit as well by doing the same thing. So I think there will be a move to get more training and production in the country,” Shapps said.

The U.K. and other NATO members have so far avoided setting up a military presence in Ukraine to reduce the risk of a direct conflict between the defense alliance and Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev, chairman of Russia’s security council, suggested that British soldiers training Ukrainian troops in Ukraine would make them legitimate targets for Russian forces. The move would “turn your instructors into legal targets for our armed forces,” Medvedev said on Telegram. “Knowing full well that they will be mercilessly destroyed. And not as mercenaries, but precisely as British NATO specialists.”

Shapps traveled to Kyiv last week where he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Talking about Russian attacks on commercial vessels in the Black Sea, Shapps said: “It’s important that we don’t allow a situation to establish by default that somehow international shipping isn’t allowed in that water.”

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