UK’s new defence secretary rushes to bomb shelter during Ukraine attack

Ukraine's Defence Minister Rustem Umerov meets with Britain's Secretary of State for Defence John Healey, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine July 7, 2024. REUTERS/Nina Liashonok

Ukraine’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov meets with Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence John Healey, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Odessa (Picture: Reuters)

Britain’s new defence secretary was forced to take cover after air raid sirens blared out on his first visit to Ukraine.

John Healy flew to Odessa just 72 hours after celebrating Labour’s electoral victory at a sports hall in South Yorkshire.

But just moments after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov, the duo were alerted to a Russian missile threat and rushed to a nearby bunker.

Mr Healy was in Odessa to assure Ukraine that Britain’s new Labour government will continue to support the besieged nation with military aid.

John Healey travelled to Ukraine to reaffirm Britain’s support for the embattled nation (Picture: Twitter/@DefenceHQ)

This included fast-tracking a shipment of arms approved by the last government prior to the election.

The MoD said the new package includes ammunition, 90 Brimstone missiles, 50 small military boats to support river and coastal operations, 40 demining vehicles, 10 AS-90 artillery guns and support for previously gifted ones, and 61 bulldozers to help build defensive positions.

The department said the UK’s commitment in April included 400 vehicles, 1,600 strike and air defence missiles, 4 million rounds of ammunition and 60 boats, including offshore raiding craft.

Mr Healey said: ‘As the new Defence Secretary, I will ensure that we reinvigorate Britain’s support by stepping up supplies of vital military aid.

‘This Government is steadfast in our commitment to continue supplying military assistance and will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Ukrainian friends for as long as it takes.’

‘Our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people is absolute, as is our resolve to confront Russian aggression and pursue Putin for his war crimes.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, who accompanied Mr Healy on the trip, said: ‘The recent milestone of 500,000 Russians killed or wounded is a reminder of how badly this war has gone for Russia.

Air raid sirens rang out just hours after the defence minsuer’s arrival in Odessa (Picture: Shutterstock)

‘Over the past year, with British help, Ukraine has driven the Russian fleet from Crimea and reopened the Black Sea for exports.

‘The battle on land is much tougher but Ukraine’s future as a sovereign nation is not in doubt.’

He added: ‘By continuing to support Ukraine, and by helping to ensure Russia loses, Britain and Europe will be stronger and safer over the long term.’

During the election campaign, Rishi Sunak claimed that a Labour government would undermine Britain’s long-term support for Ukraine- something the minister’s visit was meant to disprove.

It comes after 100,000 households in northern Ukraine were left without water and electricity after increased Russian strikes on Friday night continued to cripple the region’s badly-damaged energy infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities reported on Saturday that civilian casualties have risen sharply in the country’s embattled east. 

Russian shelling on Friday and overnight killed 11 civilians and wounded 43, local Gov. Vadym Filashkin reported on Saturday.

Five people died in the town of Selydove southeast of Pokrovsk, the eastern city that has emerged as a front-line …read more

Source:: Metro


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