Conservative peer Lord Moylan praised Britain’s deployment of self-defence weapons to Ukraine to help with the 100,000 Russian troops amassed at its border. He said it showed the bloc cannot cope without the UK.
The Brexiteer wrote on Twitter: “Remarkable that the EU can’t manage without Britain.”
His comment came alongside a time-lapse video shared by UK Defence Journal’s George Allison tracking British aircraft transporting weaponry to Ukraine between January 17 and 19.
Following the UK Ministry of Defence’s decision to provide Moscow with “a new security assistance package”, two Royal Air Force C-17s could be seen departing RAF Brize Norton for Kiev several times per day.
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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Tens of thousands of Russian troops are positioned close to the Ukrainian border.
“Their deployment is not routine, and they are equipped with tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, rocket artillery, and short-range ballistic missiles.
“We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems.”
Mr Wallace also confirmed a small team of British personnel would be providing training in Ukraine.
He pointed out, however, the severity of these will depend on what the Kremlin does, claiming: “It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and what to not do, et cetera.
“But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing … it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine.”
His remarks, made during a news conference to mark his first year in office, follow security talks across Europe last week that ended in a deadlock.
Moscow repeatedly asked for guarantees that NATO will never allow Ukraine to join the alliance as well as for promises that nuclear weapons will not be stationed on Ukrainian soil.
In yet another effort to prevent Vladimir Putin’s government from further escalating, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Geneva.
Mr Blinken, a senior official said, hopes to secure a “diplomatic off-ramp” to the Ukraine crisis.
She said: “Secretary Blinken is 150 percent committed to see if there is a diplomatic off-ramp here and that really is the impetus behind this engagement with Foreign Minister Lavrov.
“It’s really an opportunity for the US to share our major concerns with Russia and to see where there might be an opportunity for Russia and the United States to find common ground.”
Mr Wallace, in a similar mood, said: “We wish to be friends with the Russian people as we have been for hundreds of years. And there is a world in which we can establish a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia.
“I still remain hopeful that diplomacy will prevail. It is President Putin’s choice whether to choose diplomacy and dialogue or conflict and the consequences.”