BRITAIN has agreed to sell warships and missiles to Ukraine as tensions rise with Russia.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace signed a deal with Ukraine to beef up the country’s naval capabilities after 100,000 Russian troops descended on the border amid fears of an imminent invasion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed Western countries have shared intel about Moscow’s military movements after the US warned of a potential attack.
The new treaty between the UK and Ukraine will deliver two mine countermeasure vessels, the joint production of eight missile ships, as well as the delivery of and retrofit of weapons systems to existing vessels.
There will also be the joint production of a frigate and technical support to the country for the building of naval infrastructure.
A joint statement from Mr Wallace and Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksii Yuriyovych Reznikov said the UK “stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine”.
It said: “Our governments have no desire to be adversarial, or seek in any way to strategically encircle or undermine the Russian Federation.
“We are concerned by Russia’s military build-up and activity around the borders of Ukraine.
“Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is indisputable.
“The United Kingdom stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and will continue its long-standing determination to support them.
“We are unwavering in that support and together we remain vigilant and united in the defence of our common values and freedoms.”
Downing Street has voiced concern about the rapid build-up of Russian forces on its border with Ukraine.
Mr Johnson warned: “I think it would be a tragic, tragic mistake for the Kremlin to think there was anything to be gained,”
Whitehall sources said the UK government was anxious about the intel it was receiving and there was “twitchiness” and “anxiety” among officials.
And Britain’s most senior military officer admitted he too is “worried” about the unfolding threat from Russia in Eastern Europe.
General Sir Nick Carter – the Chief of the Defence Staff – warned that the UK must be “on guard” over Putin’s intentions with Ukraine and tensions with Belarus.
There is a crisis at the Belarus-Poland border – where Kremlin puppet Alexander Lukashenko has been accused of weaponising migration to pressure the EU.
A minister said British troops are on standby to protect countries in Eastern Europe against aggression from Russia, with a force of 600 SAS troops on standby to be sent to Kiev’s aid if Moscow launches an attack on Ukraine.
The PM said “what we’ve got to do is to make sure that everybody understands the cost of miscalculation on the borders of both Ukraine and Poland would be enormous”.
But the Kremlin has dismissed claims it is preparing to invade Ukraine and grumbled about increasing activity in the region by the NATO transatlantic alliance.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Western media reports that Moscow has intentions to invade Ukraine as a “hollow and unfounded attempt to incite tensions”.
And presenter Irada Zeynalova on NTV alleged the West was “exacerbating the situation” with the Black Sea “almost at boiling point both in the air and the sea”.
“It is already dangerous,” she said.
It comes after a shocking video appeared to show Russian tanks, armoured vehicles and soldiers massing near the city of Voronezh – just 180 miles from the Ukrainian border.
The vehicles, which include a battalion of T-80U main battle tanks, are understood to have been brought down from the Moscow area.
Other clips show tanks being carried by train close to the city, while further footage shows a line of military troop-carrying trucks steaming down a highway in Bryansk around 100 miles from the border.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken described Washington as being “very concerned” about the potential “attempted rehash” of Russia’s 2014 invasion.
He said due to the country’s history of aggressive action and current uncertainty “we have real concerns about what we’re seeing in the present”.