UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that Defense Secretary Grant Shapps’ suggestion that British troops could train forces in Ukraine is not for the “here and now”, UK media reported.
“I think there's been some misreporting about this,” Sunak told media, as cited by Sky News.
He said British troops have been training Ukrainians in the UK, adding however: “What the defense secretary was saying was that it might well be possible one day in the future for us to do some of that training in Ukraine.”
He stated: “But that's something for the long-term, not the here and now - there are no British soldiers that will be sent to fight in the current conflict. That's not what's happening.”
“What we are doing is training Ukrainians. We're doing that here in the UK. It's something that everyone should be proud of, because it's making an enormous difference.”
Shapps had told The Telegraph in an interview: “I was talking today about eventually getting the training brought closer and actually into Ukraine as well.”
The defense minister added: “Particularly in the west of the country, I think the opportunity now is to bring more things ‘in country’, and not just training but also we’re seeing BAE [UK defense firm], for example, move into manufacturing in country, for example.”
He stated: “I’m keen to see other British companies do their bit as well by doing the same thing. So I think there will be a move to get more training and production in [Ukraine].”
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev commented on Shapps’ statements saying on Sunday: “That is, to turn their instructors into a legal target for our armed forces. Realizing perfectly well that they will be ruthlessly destroyed. And no longer as mercenaries, but precisely as UK’s NATO specialists,” as cited by state news agency TASS.