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London reaffirms its support for Ukraine. Gavin Williamson in Odessa

(B2) British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson visited Odessa, the major port base of the Ukrainian navy, accompanied by Stepan Poltorak, his Ukrainian alter ego. A visit where the Briton insisted on “ reaffirm the UK's determination to work closely with Ukraine in the face of shared threats ».

The British Defense Minister, received in Odessa by his Ukrainian counterpart, meets Ukrainian sailors (credit: MOD Uk / HMS Echo)

HMS Echo in Odessa

The minister visited the ship Hms echo of the Royal Navy, which stopped in Odessa, before returning to Romania. " This is further evidence of our strong support and commitment to cooperation with the Ukrainian military, a clear demonstration of the UK's unwavering support for Ukraine, which faces continued unlawful acts of aggression against its sovereignty underlined G. Williamson. Note: the passage of the military vessel through the Black Sea was notified to the regional authorities through the Montreux Convention, according to the British authorities.

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson meets the sailors of HMS Echo in Odessa (credit: MOD Uk / HMS Echo)

A visit to the families of detained soldiers

During his stay, the British minister also met the families of soldiers detained by Russia, following the capture of several Ukrainian naval vessels in the Sea of ​​Azov (read: Serial incidents between Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch Strait. EU calls for de-escalation). The opportunity to declare that “ the UK stands side by side with the international community to demand their immediate release ».

Continued support for the army and navy

During conversations with his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak, the Defense Minister discussed the progress of Operation Orbital, the United Kingdom's military training mission in Ukraine, launched in 2015. This operation is to be extended by two years, until 2020, as the Minister l 'announced in September during his visit to Marinka and kyiv. The UK will also provide support and guidance to the Ukrainian Navy and deploy training teams comprising the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Army in January and March 2019.

NB: Since the start of 2015, British personnel have trained over 9500 members of the Ukrainian armed forces. The training was expanded in 2018. To defensive programs such as mine and improvised explosive device (IED) identification, infantry, medical care and logistics were added planning for mortar fire, against snipers and against armored vehicles.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).