‘Global Britain’ seeks to demonstrate its military value in Ukraine

From sending weapons to Ukraine to warning of a possible Kremlin-backed coup in Kyiv, the UK is seeking to put itself at the forefront of Western efforts to prevent it. prevent what Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls the risk of a “lightning war” in the east. Europe.

Moscow’s deployment of more than 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border is also being seen by British officials as an opportunity for Britain to demonstrate its global position in the post-Brexit era, demonstrating the continued importance of security services and demonstrates military ties with Washington and the US-leader of the military alliance, Nato.

“The UK is speaking out and being assertive because traditional security is one of the few areas where the UK has remained quite strong and unaffected by Brexit,” said Michael Clarke, former director of the Royal Service Institute United Nations, said- tanks.

“This is one of the few areas where our European partners still have to take us seriously. Here, the UK has the imperative and the opportunity to demonstrate what ‘Global Britain’ can mean in a critical security context. ”

Over the past week, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has grilled lamb what he called Putin’s “nationalist” provocations and announced that Britain would send anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. The United States and the Baltic states have also sent weapons.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss then took the unusual step of Saturday to declassify intelligence from MI6, the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, which claims Russia is plotting to install a home pro-Moscow leader in Kyiv.

Then on Monday, Johnson, in the face of growing fears of a potential Russian attack on Ukraine, alert Moscow that any such invasion would be a “pathetic move”.

Russia, which has accused Britain of stoking tensions in the region, denies planning any attacks. French officials on Monday also described the UK’s stance as “very alarming. . . We have to be careful.” The UK – like the US, but so far unlike the EU countries – has been part staff withdraw from its embassy in Kyiv.

Map of Russia and Ukraine

If Russia invades its neighbour, few believe there will be active military support from any Nato member, be it the US or the UK.

Britain “had strayed from the diplomatic cadence. . . with the Prime Minister mired in various scandals,” said Lord Peter Ricketts, the UK’s former national security adviser. But “there was a marked change in tempo.”

For all its post-Brexit differences, the EU has made maintaining close defense and security ties with the UK its primary goal. Truss is also understood to want to avoid what happened when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and the UK was seen as absent from the international scene.

“[I] said a British diplomat. “But if the noise created by us and our allies de-escalates, the UK will suddenly be like a player again.”

So far, the UK has sent to Ukraine a team of about 30 professional soldiers from the Rangers Regiment as well as 2,000 short-range anti-tank missiles, and Wallace said he was open to sending more.

“British Opens Request for Military Aid to Ukraine,” agreed the headline on the website of one of Ukraine’s most important military think tanks, Defense Express. It added: “In two days, Britain has supplied more anti-tank weapons than all NATO countries since 2014.

Brussels officials say the diplomatic aspects of Britain’s involvement became apparent at the G7 meeting in Liverpool, Britain last month, where Britain, France, Germany and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell agreed. commitment to strong cooperation to contain Russia.

Militarily, the UK is also seen by the eastern states of the EU as the continent’s most important partner in Nato, the region’s leading security guarantor.

Last year, the UK sent 140 engineers to help Poland secure its border with Belarus after Minsk’s dictatorship sparked a migration crisis on the EU’s eastern flank.

At the time, the British Ministry of Defense said the staff would “assist the Polish army in planning and specific technical tasks”. Poland’s defense minister called the deployment an “expression of our allied unity”.

A similar dynamic could play out in Ukraine. If Russia invades its neighbour, few believe there will be active military support from any Nato member, be it the US or the UK.

Instead, London is expected to provide additional military technical and intelligence support. “We have no plans to send UK combat troops to Ukraine,” Downing Street insisted on Monday.

The UK is also seen by senior EU officials as an indispensable partner in any sanctions package – as last year, when London and Brussels coordinated to implement a package of sanctions against Belarus.

Ultimately, it is British foreign policy, where Clarke argues that the crisis affects the strengths of the UK’s “old Cold War”. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has agreed to meet his UK counterpart Wallace in Moscow. Truss is also expected to visit Moscow and Kyiv in the coming weeks for diplomatic talks.

Perhaps the most important element of those negotiations will be whether Britain can make a meaningful contribution to the detractor, Clarke suggests, for example by “give Moscow a leg up.” ladder to climb down, even if there is some military action.”

Additional reporting by James Shotter in Warsaw and Roman Olearchyk in Kyiv

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