Ukraine War Could Last Another 12 Months, Says UK Defence Chief On Anniversary

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Ukraine War Could Last Another 12 Months, Says UK Defence Chief On Anniversary

Authored by Alexander Zhang via The Epoch Times,

The war in Ukraine could last another year, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the war, which began when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

Asked whether the public will still see Ukraine and Russia at war in another 12 months, Wallace told LBC radio: “I think we will. I think Russia has shown a complete disregard, not only for the lives of the people of Ukraine, but for its own soldiers.”

Ukrainian soldiers patrol in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on Feb. 14, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

During the past 12 months, more than 188,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded in the conflict, Wallace said.

The defence chief said he doesn’t think Putin will voluntarily put an end to the war.

“When someone has crossed the line and thinks it is OK to do that to your own people, running effectively a meat grinder for an army, I think he is not going to stop.”

Military Aid

Britain has been one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine’s resistance.

Last year the UK provided £2.3 billion ($2.8 billion) in military aid to Ukraine—the largest package of support of any European nation and second only to the United States. The government has also pledged £1.5 billion in economic and humanitarian support.

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace meets Ukrainian soldiers during a visit to Bovington Camp in Dorset, England, on Feb. 22, 2023. (Ben Birchall – Pool/Getty Images)

In January, the UK became the first country to pledge advanced Western main battle tanks to Ukraine when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak authorised the delivery of 12 Challenger 2 tanks.

On Wednesday, Wallace met with Ukrainian troops being trained on the Challengers at the Bovington Camp in Dorset.

He told LBC that he is “open to more British tanks” being sent—on top of those already pledged.

Fighter Jets

The defence secretary also suggested that Ukraine is likely to receive fighter jets from NATO member countries. However, he suggested that NATO’s eastern European member states such as Poland—which have Soviet-era planes that the Ukrainian air force is used to—are more likely to supply the jets than Britain.

Sunak’s government has so far not committed to providing Ukraine with British jets, arguing that it takes too long for pilots to train on the Royal Air Force’s F-35 and Typhoon jets.

A Royal Air Force Typhoon jet flies over the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta, Romania, on April 8, 2022. (Daniel Mihailescu /AFP via Getty Images)

But the prime minister is under increasing pressure from members of Parliament, including his immediate predecessors Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

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During Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to London earlier this month, Sunak announced plans to train Ukrainian pilots to fly NATO-standard advanced fighter jets, and Downing Street said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is “actively looking at whether we send jets.”

Last week, however, Wallace claimed it could be years before the UK gives any planes to Ukraine, suggesting Zelenskyy may even have to wait until the war with Russia is over.

During a debate on Ukraine in the House of Commons earlier this week, both Truss and Johnson piled pressure on Sunak, urging the UK government to further step up its already substantial support for the war-torn country.

Johnson said: “The Ukrainians are fighting not just for their freedom, but for the cause of freedom around the world. We should give them what they need, not next month, not next year, but now.”

Echoing Johnson’s sentiment, Truss said she “can’t wait to see fighter jets” being delivered to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meet outside Number 10 Downing Street in London on Feb. 8, 2023. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

Record Arms Orders

Amid the “elevated threat environment” caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, British defence giant BAE Systems has received record orders in the past year.

BAE, the UK’s biggest defence firm, reported its highest ever order intake of £37.1 billion ($44.5 billion) for 2022, which saw its order backlog jump to £58.9 billion.

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The company said in a statement: “While it is tragic that it took a war in Europe to raise the awareness of the importance of defence around the globe, BAE Systems is well positioned to help national governments keep their citizens safe and secure in an elevated threat environment.”

The group—which builds ships, submarines, and fighter jets—said it expects sales to increase by a further 3—5 percent in 2023, while underlying earnings are forecast to increase by 4–6 percent.

Charles Woodburn, chief executive of BAE, said: “We’ve delivered another year of strong results across the group.

“Our record orders and financial performance give us confidence in delivering long-term growth and to continue investing in new technologies, facilities, and thousands of highly skilled jobs, whilst increasing shareholder returns.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 02/25/2023 – 07:00

Source: ZeroHedge News