UK

UK among countries continuing military aid for Ukraine to fight Russia

A Russian invasion has prompted nations to support Ukraine with military hardware.

Britain has pledged to continue to supply arms to Ukraine's embattled military as the fighting with Russian forces reached the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said Russian troops had not made the progress they might have hoped, with the main armoured columns still some way from the city.

He told Forces News the fighting in the capital had been confined to "very isolated pockets" of Russian special forces and paratroopers, while defence intelligence placed the bulk of Russian forces almost 19 miles from the centre of Kyiv, as Russian President Vladimir Putin strives to topple the Ukrainian government.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "We stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and are pursuing every option to support them in their defence against President Putin’s unprovoked and illegal invasion.

"I'm so pleased that so many nations are coming forward with humanitarian and military aid."

Continued support will include ammunition and anti-tank weapons which Mr Heappey said had "anecdotally" been put to good effect against Russian armour since the start of the invasion.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is now co-ordinating ways to deliver further military aid to Ukraine without it falling into Russian hands, said Mr Heappey, after Mr Wallace hosted a virtual donor conference on Friday with more than 25 countries, including the US and Canada and some countries outside of NATO, to outline support.

The MOD released an intelligence update on Saturday morning, confirming that Russian forces "have continued their advance on Kyiv with the bulk of their forces now 30km from the centre of the city".

Russia has not yet gained control of air space over Ukraine, the update added, the aggressors "likely" to suffer greater casualties than expected by the Kremlin.

Watch: NLAW: The tank-killing weapon sent to Ukraine by the UK.

Mr Heappey disclosed that the Ministry of Defence was working on plans to support a resistance movement and a government in exile if Ukraine was finally overrun.

"That is a decision for the National Security Council to take but it is something that the Prime Minister has asked us in the Ministry of Defence to look at and plan for," he told Sky News.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered renewed assurance on Saturday that the country’s military would stand up to the Russian invasion. In a video recorded in a central Kyiv street, he said he remained in the city.

"We aren’t going to lay down weapons. We will protect the country," he said. "Our weapon is our truth, and our truth is that it’s our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all of that."

Cover image and thumbnail: MYKOLA TYS/SOPA IMAGES/SIPA USA/Alamy.