Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on the buildup of the British military presence in Ukraine

Question: How would you comment on today's statements by Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson on plans to increase British military presence in Ukraine?

Answer: This decision goes against the imperative for resolving the Ukrainian conflict through political and diplomatic means on the basis of the Minsk Agreements, which the UK claims to be committed to. Ukraine continues to ignore its obligations under the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements by relying on a military solution to the conflict and refusing to negotiate directly with Donetsk and Lugansk representatives. The remarks by Mr Williamson show that instead of putting all possible pressure on Kiev the British government supports and even encourages the Ukrainian authorities to continue the military operation against their own people.

It is officially confirmed that the British troops stationed in Ukraine are actively involved in the training of the armed forces that conduct a military operation in the East. The fighting leads to numerous civilian casualties and a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation on the ground. It is clear that the British military buildup, albeit a symbolic one, can only aggravate the situation and in no way contributes to a peaceful settlement.

In a broader context, such steps fit into the NATO strategy of stepping up its military presence in Ukraine, coupled with increased activity in the Black Sea. This is a matter of deep concern.