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UK defense minister reassures Ukraine of ‘lethal’ arms aid in secret visit to Kiev

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace arrives to attend a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London on June 7, 2022. (File photo by AFP)

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has made a secret visit to Ukraine for a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss sending further military support, including “lethal aid,” to the country, the ministry says.

In a statement on Friday, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that the two sides talked about providing Ukrainian armed forces with new armaments “as the nature of the conflict continues to change.”

Referring to Kiev’s operational needs, the statement added that “the UK’s continued support is evolving to meet those requirements and is tailored to the situation on the ground.”

“They also discussed the range of equipment and training the UK is currently providing, and what further support we can offer to help Ukrainian forces to defend their country,” the statement said.

Wallace also met Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, on the first of the two-day visit, before speaking with Zelensky.

According to the MoD, the meetings focused on the UK continuing to provide Ukraine with “operationally effective lethal aid.”

Britain was the first European country to send lethal aid to Ukraine and has since sent military aid worth more than £750 million, including thousands of anti-tank missiles, air defense systems, and armored vehicles, to Ukraine.

Earlier last week, the UK government announced that it is set to send a “cutting edge” M270 multiple-launch rocket system to Ukraine to help the embattled troops halt Russia’s rapid advances in the besieged east of the country.

The development came in defiance of a warning by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the provision of longer-range missiles would see Russia strike harder.

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