Image ID 2HJC1Y0 Ukrainian service member fires UK supplied NLAW during training at Ukraine's International Peacekeeping Security Centre near Yavoriv 280122 CREDIT REUTERS, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO.png
Ukrainian service member fires a British-supplied NLAW during training earlier this year (Picture: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo).
Ukraine

Ukrainians shout 'God save the Queen' as they fire UK weapons at Russians, minister says

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said the priority is to help the Ukrainians defend themselves against Russian aggression.

Image ID 2HJC1Y0 Ukrainian service member fires UK supplied NLAW during training at Ukraine's International Peacekeeping Security Centre near Yavoriv 280122 CREDIT REUTERS, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO.png
Ukrainian service member fires a British-supplied NLAW during training earlier this year (Picture: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo).

Ukrainian soldiers are "shouting God Save the Queen" as they fire UK-supplied anti-tank weapons at Russian forces, a minister has said.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly made the claim as MPs took part in a debate to consider the current situation in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Mr Cleverly told the House: "We have heard anecdotally that Ukrainians are shouting 'God Save the Queen' as they are firing those weapons at the tanks that have been sent to destroy them."

Mr Cleverly added: "I am very, very proud that we play an incredibly important part."

He also stressed that the UK was among the first countries to provide "lethal aid" to Ukraine and stressed the importance of "British military technology" and "British military training" to the Ukrainian war effort.

His remarks came after Conservative MP James Gray said: "Would he agree with me that one of the lighter moments in an otherwise extremely bleak picture in Ukraine was the destruction of Russian tanks using, one has to presume, British NLAWs?"

Earlier in the month, while updating MPs on the Ukraine war in the Commons, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told MPs that the UK has delivered 3,615 NLAWs (next-generation light anti-armour weapons) and will soon be supplying a "small consignment" of Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Watch: Royal Dragoon Guards show off anti-tank weapons in Lithuania.

However, fears have been expressed that British-supplied anti-tank missiles could "end up in the hands of far-right neo-Nazis" travelling to Ukraine.

Labour MP Clive Lewis, who served as an Army reservist said he had "lost his guts quite a few times" – his lunch – "from helicopters having to jink" because of the threat of Stinger missiles given to allies decades before, so raised concern over the future of weapons that are being sent.

He asked the Commons: "Can the minister assure us that the Government is putting in place sufficient measures to make sure that our weapons do not end up on the black market in the hands of the wrong people at a future day?

"Also, to tell us that our weapons – the NLAWs and other pieces of aggressive equipment – are not going to end up in the hands of far-right neo-Nazis, many of which we know are making their way to Ukraine now from around the world?"

Watch: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announces that the UK is to send more anti-air and more anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

In response, Mr Cleverly said the priority at the moment is to help the Ukrainians defend themselves against Russian aggression.

He added: "Obviously, we hope this conflict comes to a swift conclusion but until then we will be continuing our support for the Ukrainians as they defend themselves.

"What happens at the end of this conflict in terms of securing munitions will be something, of course, we will work with the Ukrainian government and our international friends and partners."

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